When most of us sit down to eat, the last thing we want to think about is portion control. But for anyone on a diet or just looking to maintain their current figure, that’s exactly what they should be doing.
The first step in successful portion control is learning the correct serving size. The serving size can usually be found by reading nutritional labels. But the portion is the amount of food or drink a person chooses to consume. More often than not, the portion people eat is larger than the serving size simply because they don't know any better.
Portion control is limiting what you eat. it is being aware of how much food you are actually eating and what calories are in that serving.
The good news is that with a little practice, portion control is easy to do and can help people reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Below are my top 10 tips to keep your portions a healthy size:
1. Measure accurately: For foods and beverages, use gadgets like a measuring cup, tablespoon, teaspoon or food scale.
2. Learn how to estimate serving sizes: You can ballpark food portion sizes by estimating serving sizes in comparison to known objects such a tennis ball or deck of cards. Or even better yet, use your hands to estimate you portions using my Handful Portion Control Size.
3. Use portion control dishware: Pick out smaller plates, bowls, cups, and glassware in your kitchen and measure what they hold. You might find that a bowl you thought held 8 ounces of soup actually holds 16, meaning you’ve been eating twice what you planned.
4. Dish out your servings separately: Serve food from the stove onto plates rather than family-style at the table, which encourages seconds.
5. Make your own single-serving packs: Re-portion bulk quantities of favorite foods such as pasta, rice, and cereal into individual portions in zipper bags so that when you’re in the mood for some food you’ll instantly see the number of portions you’re preparing.
6. Add the milk before the coffee: When possible, put your (fat-free) milk into the cup before adding the hot beverage to better see the amount you are using.
7. Measure oil carefully: This is especially important because oil (even the healthful kinds like olive and safflower) have so many calories; don’t pour it directly into your cooking pan or over food.
8. Control portions when eating out: Eat half or share the meal with a friend. If eating a salad, ask for dressing on the side. Dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad.
9. Add vegetables: Eat a cup of low-calorie vegetable soup prior to eating a meal, or add vegetables to casseroles and sandwiches to add volume without a lot of calories.
10. Listen to your hunger cues: Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are comfortably full. Try to stop when you are 80% full and stop there to avoid being uncomfortably full. Don't worry there will be more food at the next meal!
Happy Healthy Living,