Updated: Aug 15, 2019
How often have you heard someone say, “I don’t understand why I can’t lose weight. I only eat healthy foods.” Eating high quality, nutrient-dense food is only part of the answer. Controlling calories through portion control is another factor in losing weight.
Controlling food quantity is a herculean task in these days of super-size servings. Everywhere we go, we are tempted by extra-large servings. Eating too many calories of even healthy nutrient-dense foods can cause us to gain unwanted weight. Keeping our portions in control can help us maintain a proper weight, gain muscle and lose fat.
Although there is no magic or secret potion to portion control, here are a few tried and true tips to help you choose the right portion size every time you eat.
1. Start with a glass of water. Water will fill you up and you will naturally eat less.
2. Add Vegetables as fillers – Vegetables can help to fill you up fast and keep the calorie count low.
3. Choose the right plate and utensils – the size and color of your plate can have a significant influence on your total calorie intake. Use a small plate to limit the amount of food you put on your plate. A study at Cornell University showed that choosing a plate color that is similar to the food you are eating resulted in consuming less food. So, choose a small red plate with a small spoon or fork when eating pasta with red sauce and you will eat less.
4. Plate your protein first and foods that contain fiber and then use extra carbs as a topper. Fill your plate with proteins, like chicken or fish and complex carbs like sweet potatoes before adding less nutritious carbs
5. Use low lights and relaxing music to help you relax and slow down your eating.
6. Eat foods that take work. Nuts in their shells, edamame, fruit with a peel will naturally slow down your eating and make it likely that you will eat less.
7. Buy small bags of snacks, or divide a larger bag into servings before you begin to dig in.
8. Sip on soup before your main course. A broth based soup with vegetables can help you feel full and reduce your overall calorie intake.
9. Eliminate distractions like the TV and your smartphone. Eat mindfully.
10. Swap out the sweets – Instead of a high-calorie dessert, choose a piece of fruit or a flavored decaf tea instead.
11. Split your plate in two when you go out. Eat half and take home the rest.
12. Hide tempting foods – Place cookies, candy, and other snacks where they are hard to get to.
13. Eat Slowly. Taking your time when you eat can result in fewer calories consumed and better digestion.
Choose one or two of these tips and work on implementing them into your daily eating routine. As each tip becomes a habit, add a new one until keeping your portions under control becomes something you do not have to think about.