A Simple Guide to Portion ControlPosted: Aug 13 in Nutrition by Staff
Successful dieting isn’t just about what you eat; it’s also about how much you eat. Today, portion sizes are much larger than they once were. Going out to eat in Denver often means being confronted by a huge side of fries, a “super-sized” soft drink and a burger that’s built for two. Over the years, plate sizes have increased and restaurants fill them with cheaper foods with high carbohydrate and sugar content. Even the sizes of individual food items such as bagels have increased dramatically with the years. As the upsizing of America continues it becomes increasingly difficult for us to know what a single serving size should look like.
Learning to control portion sizes is one of the most important things you can do to begin a program of healthy eating and to lose weight and keep it off, but understanding what constitutes a healthy portion — and how to avoid reaching for that next french fry — can be difficult. That’s why we’re offering a few handy tips to help you manage portion control in your diet.
- Buy smaller dinner plates, bowls and cups. Too often, we fill our plates, cups and bowls to the rims, resulting in significant overeating. Try this experiment: Take a bowl and pour in your typical amount of breakfast cereal. Now pour out a portion based on the cereal label. Are you eating more just to fill your bowl?
- When you eat out, ask for a container at the beginning of your meal and pack some of it to take home, so you aren’t tempted to clean your plate. Or consider splitting a meal with a friend.
- Make portion control simpler by investing in measuring cups and spoons and even a scale.
Keep salad dressing on the side, and dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad to avoid overindulging.
- Tune in to your feelings of hunger and satiety: Stop eating when you first feel comfortably full or satisfied.
- Pre-empt meals with a low-calorie soup, and add extra vegetables to casseroles to reduce calories per serving and add healthy fiber at the same time.
- Don’t think you’re safe by choosing “pre-portioned” foods such as bagels or muffins. Recent data show that most bagels and muffins are two to three times larger than the USDA standard.
Following these few healthy eating tips can make a big impact in portion control, and learning other ways to manage your behavior can result in even greater benefits and more effective weight loss.