One of the issues that have come up over the last several decades is that portion sizes of food have grown significantly – everything is bigger, including the plates we serve on! Similarly, we also tend to multitask while eating, without realizing how much we have consumed (eating while watching TV, anyone?). All of this makes it even harder to know how much to eat sometimes. Here are a few tips to help you with portion control.
Written By: Dr. Kim Waters, Wellbeats Instructor
Tip #1 Ask for a Box
Restaurant portion sizes are huge!Did you know that 12 oz steak on the menu is actually 4 servings of meat? If you are dining out, ask for a box right away and put at least half of your meal in the box. That way, you won’t be tempted to overeat and you can save it for lunch or dinner the next day.
Tip #2 Read the Food Label
Also, food labels tell you the size of a serving and the nutrients in that serving. Pay attention to serving size to help you gauge what fits in your daily caloric needs.
Here’s a general guide if you don’t have access to a food label:
- 1 cup = size of your fist (for vegetables, fruit, yogurt, milk, and dry goods)
- 1 oz = size of your index finger (for cheese)
- 3 oz = size of your palm (for meat)
- 1 tbs = size of your thumb (for peanut butter)
Tip #3 Pay Attention to Serving Size
Now that you’re reading food labels, Make your own single serving grab bags of your favorite healthy snacks. That will help you avoid mindlessly overeating out of a larger bag or container. For example, count out the # of almonds in a serving before you eat. You can also prep these in snack size baggies for on-the-go.
Tip #4 Use a Smaller Plate
Next, if you’re used to super-sized meals, trick yourself into eating smaller portions by using a smaller plate or bowl. Your plate will be full and you’ll be eating less.
Tip #5 Sip Water Between Bites
Did you know it takes almost 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you’re satisfied or full? Slow down by taking a sip of water regularly between bites and setting down your utensil. That way you’ll give yourself time to gauge if you’re satisfied.
Do you have another tip for portion control? Share it with us in the comments below!