Food and Nutrition

5 Ways to Control Your Portions

| by Mitzi Dulan

We’ve all heard about controlling our portions. Can we gauge how big a serving size is for, say, a homemade chicken pot pie, and the amount of calories that constitutes a serving? Portion control is important for both weight loss and weight maintenance. Therefore, portion control is not only eating a healthy balance of amounts of food, but also different kinds of nutritious foods. Half of our plates should be filled with vegetables, a quarter of the plate filled with carbohydrates, and the remaining quarter of the plate filled with meat.

So how can we control our portions? Here are some other ways to control your portions:

1. Divvy up Trigger Foods: We all have cravings for snack foods. But if we divide them up into small individual baggies before eating them, we can minimize how much we snack. It’s difficult to resist eating potato chips out of the big bag while lounging around watching TV, but one would definitely think twice before snacking on 9 zipper bags of potato chips all at one time. Yikes.

2. Divvy up Leftovers: Separating leftover casseroles, main dishes, side dishes, etc. into individually sized containers instead of placing them in one huge container will allow you to have one helping per container. So the next time you reach into the fridge, you can reheat one container and get one helping of food instead. The single servings will help you limit your food intake easily.

3. Eat Salad Before the Main Course: Having a salad before lunch or dinner can keep you from overeating by giving you a sense of fullness sooner. Of course, the salads we’re talking about consists of different types of veggies, not just plain old iceberg lettuce.

4. “Eyeballing” Portion Size: When dining both in and out, keep these tips in mind! The size of a deck of cards equates 3 oz of meat. The size of a tennis ball is about 1 cup pasta.

5. Preparing Meat as Side Dish: Instead of preparing meat as the main part of your meal, prepare it as a side dish so you can load up on veggies and whole grains for early satiety and extra vitamin and fiber. Be sure to eat different varieties of veggies.

So practice mindful eating. Eat less and enjoy food more. And remember, you don’t need to completely clean your plates, in fact, please leave some food on your plate!

Assistance provided by Rachel Yam