Portion Control Basics for Weight Management

Posted: Feb 09 in Nutrition by

Portion Control Basics for Weight ManagementIncreasing portion sizes is a common and effective marketing technique used by restaurants, vending machines, and food manufacturers to make consumers think they are “getting their money’s worth”.  Unfortunately, placing heaping platefuls of food in front of us or tripling serving sizes changes our perception of what is a reasonable amount of food to consume.  As a result,  we  end up eating much more food than we thought we were every time we reach for a snack or serve a meal.

Portion Control Tips for Weight Management

Many studies on the subject have shown that people of all ages and sizes will eat more if portion sizes are not controlled. For example, if you give one person a small plate of food and another person a large plate of food, both will eat what’s on the plate and report they feel satisfied even though one has eaten less than the other.

Portion control is an important skill that you will learn during our medical weight management programs. Here are some of the skills you will learn:

  • At a Restaurant: Order one dinner and split it with your dinner partner or immediately ask for a take-home dish and put half (or more) of your meal in it for later.
  • At Home: Always serve on small plates or invest in portion plates so you know exactly how much food is in front of you.
  • At a Restaurant: Avoid Buffet style meals and all-you-can-eat restaurants.  Always have your meal served to you at the table.
  • At home: Serve in the kitchen and do not put serving dishes on the table.  Food in front of you is often hard to resist.
  • At a Restaurant: Many trips to restaurants are social events. Place an emphasis on good company instead of good food.  Engage in conversation and be mindful of the food in front of you.  Don’t use food as a way to fill gaps in the conversation. Sip on water instead.
  • At home: Avoid distractions while eating.  Sitting in front of the television to eat will inevitably lead to mindless eating and the desire to consume more than you really need.  Attempt to eat all your meals at the table and focus on every bite using your mindful eating techniques. Even better, make dinner time family time and get everyone involved.

Portion Control and Serving Size

Here is a list of serving sizes for typical foods:

  • One serving of pasta is the same size as a standard scoop of ice cream.
  • One pancake serving equals the size of a CD
  • Make a fist–that’s about a single serving of fruits or vegetables
  • Cup your hand and pour some pretzels or popcorn into it–that’s one serving size
  • A single serving of meat equals the length/height of a deck of cards
  • Two, dice-sized cheese cubes is one serving size

If the serving looks too small, you are a victim of “portion distortion” and your health will truly benefit by retraining yourself to accurately identify how much you are really eating.

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