Portion Control Tips

Portion Control Tips

The first step to successful portion control is understanding the difference between a serving size and a portion size. Most nutrition labels have a standard recommended serving size suggested by government food agencies and/or the manufacturer of the product. A portion size is how much you choose to eat at one time. Read and pay close attention to food labeling and recommendations. Consistency is key; if you eat large portions you will put on weight, however, the other side of that is if you eat too little, you deprive your body of important nutrients it needs. Here are a few portion control tips to help you stay on track with portion control to escape the temptations of overeating.

Choose a smaller plate size. The surface are of the traditional dinner plate size has grown about 36% since the 1960’s. According to Journal of the America Dietetic Association, research shows the size and color of the plate will dictate the amount you eat. When given a choice, go with a smaller plate to avoid the temptation of overeating. The study also reveals that by switching to a 10 inch plate from a 12 inch plate you eat 22% less. The color of the plate is just as important. If the plate is the same color as the food one tends to overfill the plate as clear boundaries are unseen. Using a contrasting color of dinnerware to the food, you are less likely to over indulge as you can clearly see where your food begins and the plate ends. Your silverware is just as important as your dinner plate. Use small silverware such as a salad fork or teaspoon when eating to encourage smaller manageable bites.

Learn to recognize portion sizes. Of course, when you can, accurately measure and weigh food for optimal results but when you can’t measure, try these simple ‘at a glance’ assessments. Use visual cues to compare food portion size to everyday items you recognize.   For example: when having animal protein, a three ounce piece of lean meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards; ½ cup of vegetables is similar in size to a tennis ball and one cup is equivalent to a baseball.

Drink water before a meal. Water makes you feel fuller and can help with dehydration. Even the slightest dehydration can drain energy from the body. If you are thirsty, you are probably a little dehydrated. Prevent this from happening by drinking water throughout the day and before each meal. Water is essential for life and a successful diet.

Create a culture to eat slower. Sit at the table when you eat and set the mood; turn on relaxing music and dim the lights. Your brain should focus on the eating process not how quickly you can fill your belly. Avoid watching TV or looking at your cell phone while you eat, and pay attention to what goes in your mouth. Put down your fork between bites and chew your food (at least 30-50 times per mouthful). The chewing process, also known as mastication, serves as the first step to digestion. The longer you chew your food, the more time it will take to finish the meal, therefore, consuming less.

Wear a reminder. Purposely wear a form fitting blouse or a snug belt around the waist, but of course, dress comfortably. As you eat and become full your clothes may feel slightly snug and will serve as a reminder not to over do it. Stick to monitoring your portion control and those snug fitting clothes will soon be history.

We’ve been conditioned at an early age to “clean your plate”, whether you were hungry or not. As adults, it can be hard to break the habit but it can be done with simple portion control. Start by downsizing your portions as a sustainable change to your eating habits and you will see results faster than you think. To learn more about sustainable lifestyle, eating habits, and portion control tips, contact us today!

Feel free to share more portion control tips in the comments below!