Portion control is an essential part of maintaining a healthy diet and body weight. In recent years serving sizes have increased in the United States by 20%
It is no secret that obesity has been an ongoing epidemic in the U.S. for the past two decades. While most may attribute being overweight or obese to genetics or what a person chooses to eat, the reality is that it is not necessarily what people are eating, but rather how much more people are eating.
We live in an age where you have the option to go to the drive thru and super-size everything and where there are buffets every time you turn around. Even the sizes of plates are made larger to entice people to put more food on their plate. Controlling your portion sizes may be the single most effective thing that people can do to be successful in lasting weight loss.
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10 Tips on how to better control your portions
#1. Measuring food
Measuring out your food could be the best way to start maintaining proper portion sizes. The size of a woman’s fist is the equivalent of a single serving of vegetables or fruit.
A handful is the suggested size of snack servings. The size of a checkbook is equal to about 3 oz. which is one serving of fish. The size of a deck of cards or your palm, not including the fingers, is the proper portion of any type of poultry or other meat serving.
#2. Split an entrée
When you decide to eat out to treat yourself, instead of getting a whole entrée, try splitting an entrée with whoever you are going out with.
If you are dining alone, either ask for a kid’s size portion or ask them to put half of the entrée into a to-go box for you take it with you. That way you won’t be tempted to eat more than the normal portion size of a meal.
#3. The plate method
If you have large plates (12 inches), try buying smaller plates (around nine inches). Small plates generally make you feel like you are consuming more food when in reality you are eating less. When fixing up your plate, you should place your vegetables on one half of the plate, split the other half of the plate into two quarters in which one quarter you will place your meat or fish and the other quarter you will put your starchy element (potatoes, rice, etc.)
#4. Eat more often
Eating more often might be seen by some as the reason that people become overweight or obese but in actuality the lack of sufficient meals could be part of the problem.
It is not about eating more food, just more regularly. Eating three large meals could not only leave a person feeling hungrier throughout the day but could also be the cause of their slowed down metabolism. Eating five to six smaller, and healthier meals throughout the day not only speeds up that metabolism but also allows very little time to actually feel hungry to the point of consuming foods that you may regret eating later.
#5. Know when to stop eating
If you feel full, or even close to full, stop eating. A lot of the times people try to eat everything that they have on the plate even when they are already full. This is a big part of the reason why people are overeating.
#6. Drink before eating
It is suggested that drinking a glass of water before you eat a meal is a good way to make sure that you don’t eat an excess of food. This will make you feel full and help to suppress your appetite making you eat less. Also sometimes people can mistake thirst for hunger when thinking about snacking. Next time you think you want a snack, drink a glass of water first and see if you are still hungry for that snack afterwards.
#7. Eat when you are hungry
If you feel hungry then you should eat. Waiting longer to eat causes people to eat more then what they should when they finally do get around to eating. The longer you wait to eat after you start to feel hungry the hungrier you become.
#8. Don’t snack from the bag
When you do decide to have a snack, try not to eat from the bag or package that the snack comes in. By taking the amount you want to eat out of the bag or package and putting the rest away, you only eat a small amount. If you eat straight from the bag or package it is more likely to consume the whole entire bag or package without even meaning to.
#9. Make meat your side dish
Meat is typically the main course of any meal, it always has been. Try using meat as your side dish when eating. If you make your main portion of the meal your vegetables and grains then you will not only feel fuller faster but you will be loading up your diet with more vitamins and fiber.
#10. Never eat at a buffet
When you decide to dine out try to refrain from going to a buffet. The general point of a buffet is for a person to consume a large amount of food which, if you are trying to lose weight, is exactly what you do not want.
Portion control is viewed as a healthy lifestyle change that will help to lose weight and to keep it off. By cutting your portion sizes in half you have a much better chance of achieving your weight loss goals. This, however, is not meant to replace all of the other needed elements in weight loss efforts such as daily or regular exercise.