When we find our jeans feeling just a bit snug (like, say, today), we know it’s time to pay more attention to our eating habits. We’re saying “eating habits,” not “diet,” because we already eat the right foods; it’s just that we sometimes drift into eating too much of them. And that’s no surprise: In our super-size-it culture it’s hard to remember what a healthful portion looks like. As research has shown, when presented with large portions on big plates, everyone will overeat. In one study, people served large scoops of ice cream in large (34-ounce) bowls ate 53 percent more than those served smaller scoops in a 17-ounce bowl.
Keeping portion size in check was the challenge that confronted Heather Harvey, a Brooklynite who had struggled with weight her whole life. A few years ago, she tipped the scales at 233 pounds (she was, it should be noted, five months pregnant with her second child). Harvey began seeing a personal trainer who was also a nutrition coach; she suggested that Harvey start measuring her food along with beginning a regular exercise routine. Pouring cereal into a measuring cup one morning, Harvey thought how much easier it would be to cut out the middleman and have a premarked bowl. Not finding the kind of elegant solution she was looking for — portion-control bowls that didn’t scream, “don’t eat so much, fatty!” — she created Measure Up Bowls.
The interiors of the pretty white porcelain dishes are discreetly etched with rings that indicate portion size. The Classic Measure Up Bowl ($19.99) shows ½-, 1-, 1 ½- and 2-cup servings, perfect for pasta, chili, soups and cereal. The Small Measure Up Bowl ($13.99) is marked off with ¼-, ½- and ¾-cup servings, ideal for limiting high-fat, calorie-dense foods like ice cream, chips and nuts to a treat and not a binge. “If you put one-fourth cup of almonds or one-half cup of ice cream in a normal-sized bowl it barely covers the bottom and you feel cheated,” Harvey says. “But in a smaller bowl you feel like you’re getting a real serving and you don’t go back for seconds.”