If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, portion control is an important aspect of your diet. However, it’s not always easy to reduce or limit the amount you eat. Here are some tips that will help you stay in control of your portion sizes and avoid over-eating.
1) Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is not only essential for the healthy functioning of the body, but also helps you eat less. Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger and staying hydrated means you’ll avoid making that mistake and eating extra unnecessarily. Aim to drink six to eight glasses of water or other fluids each day, and drink plenty of water before each meal.
2) Don’t Skip Meals
If you skip one meal, you’re more likely to over-eat for the next one. Allowing yourself to become extra hungry only leads to extra-large portions. You need to eat a minimum of three meals a day. Eating smaller meals regularly is the best way to give your body the nutrients it needs without consuming too many calories.
3) Have a Liquid Appetiser
Having a little soup before you delve into your meal makes you become fuller faster, reducing your overall calorie intake. Choose a veggie-filled broth-based soup which will give you a good dose of important vitamins and minerals.
4) Use the Right Kind of Plate
Studies have confirmed what your common sense will already tell you – larger plates encourage you to eat more. Serving your food on smaller plates is one of the best ways to avoid serving too much. Some research also indicates that people eat less when there is more colour-contrast between the food and the plate it’s on, so try to avoid using plates that are a similar colour to the foods being served on them.
5) Focus on Veg
Vegetables should preferably form the bulk of your meal rather than being a small side. Bulking up your meal with veg is a great way to cut calories while filling up fast.
6) Limit Mealtime Distractions
Research shows that people eat more when they’re paying less attention to what they’re consuming. Watching television or using a computer while eating are two of the most common mealtime distractions which can encourage overeating without you even realising. Try to take a break from those activities when it comes to meal times.
7) Don’t Eat from the Packet
Snacking too much can easily lead to you consume too many calories, so it’s important to make an effort to keep snacks small. Whether you’re snacking on crisps, pretzels or nuts, you should avoid eating from the packet as it makes you much more likely to over-indulge. Stay in control of your snack portions by separating small amounts of your snack food into a separate container so you can limit yourself to eating just that amount.
Other Ways to Control Your Portion Sizes
- Keep a food diary. By jotting down each item you eat, you become more aware of the amount you are consuming. This can motivate you to adjust your diet accordingly.
- Use your plate as a measure. If weighing out food seems laborious, just a simple, rough guide is: vegetables or salad – half a plate, high quality protein – quarter of a plate, complex carbs – quarter of a plate and finally high fat foods – half a tablespoon.
- Use your hand as a measure. As your hands usually correspond to your body size this can be a way of controlling your portion sizes. A rough guide would be – high protein foods – a palm sized portion for women and 2 for men, vegetables and salads – a fist sized portion for women and 2 for men, high carb foods – one cupped hand portion for women and 2 for men and finally high fat foods – one thumb sized portion for women and 2 for men
- When dining out, ask for a half portion. Many restaurants will serve you a starter sized portion as a main course thus saving calories and money! Alternatively, don’t be afraid of asking for one dish with 2 plates for you to share with your companion.
- Finally, eat slowly! It can take your brain 20 minutes to register that you are full so slowing down decreases your chances of over eating.
Portion control doesn’t mean you have to eat tiny amounts of everything – it just means ensuring that you stick to healthy amounts and portion sizes. Following these tips will help you eat fewer calories, which may help with weight loss, without leaving you hungry and unsatisfied.
Here at The Best of Health we have designed a graphic illustrating a simple way to view portion sizes:
For regular health and wellbeing updates, why not follow us on Facebook.
You can also sign up to our free newsletter, The Best of Friends.