Today, portion sizes are much larger than before and food manufacturers are constantly pushing us to eat more. When you go to a restaurant, the portions are typically 3 times the size of the portion size needed for an average person. Increased portion sizes are contributing to overeating and unwanted weight gain. People tend to eat almost all of the food they serve themselves on their plate. Therefore, it is extremely important to control your portion sizes to prevent overeating.
10 Tips to Measure and Control Portion Sizes!
- Use smaller dinnerware
Using larger plates may make portion sizes seem like they are smaller. People are unaware of how much they are eating when they use large plates for their meals. Using a smaller dish for your meals can help you reduce your caloric intake and prevent over eating.
- Use your plate as a portion guide
Using a plate for portion control can help curb your total food intake. You can divide your plate into sections based on each food group. When preparing your plate, aim to fill half the plate with vegetables or salad, a quarter of the plate with protein and another quarter of the plate with whole grains. Half a tablespoon can consist of healthy fats such as cheese, oils or avocado.
- Use objects and your hands as guides to portion size control
- 1/2 cup of baked potato, small or medium potato, fruit, ground or chopped food, bagel or English muffin = tennis ball
- 1 large apple or orange, 1 cup of cereal = 1 baseball or a fist
- 3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry = palm of hand or deck of cards
- 2 tablespoons of salad dressing or peanut butter = 1 thumb or a golf ball
- Ask for half of the portion when eating out
Most restaurants serve about 3 times larger than the recommended serving size. Asking for half of the portion size can help you save calories and prevent overeating. You could even consider sharing a meal with someone or order an appetizer as your main dish.
- Start meals with a glass of water
Drinking water before a meal can aide in portion control. Being hydrated will help you distinguish between hunger and thirst. Drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal can naturally result in reduced food intake and greater feelings of fullness.
- Eat slowly!
Chewing your food thoroughly and eating slowly can help you reduce your caloric intake and make you feel full more quickly. Putting your utensils down between mouthfuls can also help to slow down eating and give your satiety signals time to kick in.
- Do not eat straight from the container
Jumbo-size packages or food served from large containers encourages people to overeat more than they typically would with smaller packages and containers. Try portioning snacks into individual serving sizes and serving family meals from plates to prevent over eating.
- Be aware of the serving size
Be aware of the recommended serving sizes for commonly eaten foods. For example:
- Cooked pasta or rice:1/2 cup
- Vegetables and salad:1–2 cups
- Breakfast cereal:1 cup
- Cooked beans:1/2 cup
- Nut butter:2 tablespoons
- Cooked meats:3 ounces
Using measuring equipment or the portion size guide comparisons can help increase awareness of portion sizes.
- Use a food diary
Writing down all of the foods you eat and beverages you drink can allow for you to see how much you are actually consuming. This can be eye opening and aid in motivating you to make healthier choices and reduce overeating.
- Set aside leftovers before your meal
If you intend to have leftovers, portion the food out before you even sit down. It is much harder to stop eating when a large portion of delicious food presented on the plate in front of you. This will help you determine the correct portion size before you dig in!
Comparison of Portion Sizes Now vs. Then