To lose weight, you need consume less calories than you need, which inevitably means one thing: portion control. But you’re not necessarily doomed to a growling stomach – you just need to eat the right portions – not tiny ones.
Here are 10 tips to control your portions, trim calories, and lose fat without counting the minutes until your next meal.
1) Measure Your Portions
Buy measuring cups, spoons or a food scale to measure your portions. We are notoriously bad at estimating volume, so this will help – especially until you get used to proper portions.Try measuring your sizes for a few weeks until you get a good grasp on how much to serve yourself to get that proper size.
2) Eat From Smaller Plates
Researchers from Australia have shown that the size of your plate is directly related with how much calories you are going to eat. It seems we are just wired to fill that plate – and eat up. To combat this effect, choose smaller plates (approximately 9 inches), cups (tall and narrow ones are better) and bowls. Save your oversized soup bowls for broth-based soup, salad and fruit only.
3) Take Half Home
At a restaurant, everything is designed to encourage eating, but the average portions served can typically feed two or three people. Take control of the portions and either share your meal with a friend, or ask to box up half of your meal before bringing it to the table. Save it for lunch or dinner the next day.
4) Ditch the Bag
Place the food for your meals and snacks on a dish instead of eating directly from the container or bag, especially when doing something distracting like watching TV. It’s easy to get off track and without realizing you’ve eaten half the box! Portion the food into small plates instead. This will also help you resist the urge to snack directly from the container without being aware of how much you’re eating.
5) Be Conscious Around Company
Surrounding yourself with people who tend to overeat makes you more likely to overeat, too. Research from Cornell University showed that people may serve and eat larger portions of unhealthy foods and smaller portions of healthy foods when eating with an overweight person. To avoid this, think what to order before even going to the restaurant.
6) Visualize Your Portions
If you don’t have measuring tools at hand, comparing food portions to common objects that you know the size of is a great way to control portions. This provides a good estimate on how much food you’re eating. Here are some common comparisons to keep in mind:
- 1 cup = baseball
- 1/2 cup = standard light bulb
- 2 tbsp = golf ball
- 1 tbsp = poker chip
- 3 oz meat = deck of cards
- 3 oz fish = checkbook
- 1.5 oz cheese = 3 dice
7) Use the Plate Method
This visual strategy for portion control is a great way to get you macros right. Generally. fill half of the plate with non-starchy veggies or salad. Next, visually divide your plate in half again (to achieve 2 quarters of the plate) and place your meat or protein source in one spot, and your carbohydrate or starchy vegetable in the other. This method helps you control calories and increase your vegetable intake.
8) Schedule Your Meals
Eating regularly throughout the day will help keep your portions at each meal in check. Get into the habit of planning your meals throughout the day, including small snacks between meals to keep your hunger under control. This will prevent overeating.
9) Slim Down to a Single Serving
Recognizing the difference between portion sizes and serving size is important, too. A serving size is listed on a food label, while a portion size is what you serve yourself (or what a restaurant serves you). These are important to decipher because the numbers for calories, fat, sodium, carbs, fiber, etc. on the nutrition facts label describe a specified serving size, which can vary widely from the portion you serve yourself. This is a good reason why it’s a great idea to play with your measuring cups at home until you become a pro at serving up correct serving sizes.
10) Eat Slowly
Eating slowly gives your body time to recognize that you’re full. It takes about twenty minutes from the start of a meal for the brain to send out signals of satiety. Most people’s meals don’t even last that long. Eating slowly also helps us feel more satisfied — which is different than just being “full”.
If you want to know how to make your diet healthier, these 5 tips from nutrition experts will make it easier.
Bonus: 11 Must-Have Products to Keep Your Portions Under Control
Keep track of calories and maintain your weight with these amazing products.
1) Digital Cooking Scale Tanita
Stylish food scale that helps keep your portions and meals in check.
Color-coded rings that measure perfect portions onto plates or into bowls.
3) Reusable Snack Bags
These colorful reusable bags add some style to you snacks.
4) Oxo Measuring Cups and Spoons
Basic but helpful kitchen gadgets to measure everything.
5) Fit & Fresh Lunch Containers
Pack sandwiches, fruits and salads without them getting all mixed up. Check as well these 11 smart containers to help you stay healthy on the go.
6) Baby Cubes
Baby cubes are perfect for storing small portions of dry snacks like nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.
7) Chef’n SleekStor Portion Control Bowls
This bows make it easy to measure snack portions like yogurt, fresh fruit, nuts, or crackers.
8) Jokari Portion Control Dressing Lid
9) Jokari Portion Control Pasta Basket
Measure, cook and strain a correctly-sized serving of any type of pasta without counting calories. It’s also great for steaming veggies or fish.
10) Calorie Counting Wine Glass
Not to be taken too seriously, this wine glass will help you to watch your sips.
11) Slim Snack Bag
Jazz up your child’s lunch box with granola, raisins, carrots and make home made ice pops with one product. Easy rinse and fast air-dry overnight.