Are you struggling with overeating? Proper portion management is an important component of your weight loss goals.
Of course, eating less is easier said than done. If it were easy, you wouldn’t be reading this article right now. If it were easy, there would be no reason to write this article.
The easiest way to eat less is to control your portions. But there’s a lot of confusing information out there about portion control and how much you should eat.
Keep reading this easy portion control guide, which details 10 essential hacks for managing your portions.
1. Use Your Fist
Restaurants are a clear and present danger to anyone trying to avoid overeating. In America, we love to eat out, and restaurants often pile on huge food portions. They figure, if you leave hungry, you won’t come back.
Your fist is actually your first line of defense. You can’t bring in scales and measuring cups to the diner, but you do have a fist. In short, your food portions should be about the size of your closed fist.
The fist measurement is particularly helpful with starchy foods such as rice, pasta and potatoes. Your fist is roughly the size of one cup of these items. Of course, this measurement is not precise, as fist sizes vary. But it’s a helpful guideline nonetheless.
2. Use Smaller Dishes and Silverware
According to research, we eat larger portions when we use bigger dishes and silverware. This is true no matter your size, gender or state of hunger.
So if you’re going to eat something high in carbohydrates or starch, such as spaghetti, it’s a good idea to use a smaller plate. On the other hand, big plates are perfect for salads and vegetables, which are healthy and help you feel full faster.
3. Take Advantage of Red
Another study demonstrates that the color red produces “avoidance motivation” when it comes to eating food. In other words, we eat less without even realizing it, simply by using red plates or glasses with red trim.
Like seeing a red stop sign, our minds register “stop” when we see this color.
Of course, this hack isn’t much help in a restaurant. But at home, you can use the power of red to limit your calories.
4. Eat Veggies Strategically
Pretty much every popular diet gives you a free pass when it comes to vegetables. They are natural, high in nutrients and low in calories.
But even when you eat a lot of vegetables, it can be a challenge meeting recommended intake recommendations.
So here’s a fun trick you can play to get your veggies and limit your portions. Reward yourself whenever you eat a full meal with the correct portion sizes.
Your reward? More vegetables. Only go back for vegetables and you’ll meet your nutritional requirements and feel satiated. It’s hard at first, but so worth it.
5. Eat “Fullness Foods”
Certain healthy foods make you feel full without requiring you to eat a lot. Foods containing larger amounts of protein, fiber, and healthy fats deliver a feeling of fullness that makes it easier to control your portions.
Fish, chicken, grass-fed beef and beans are great sources of protein. Get your fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains such as brown rice and sweet potatoes. The good news about healthy fats is that you don’t need much of it; a little avocado, nuts or olive oil should do the trick.
Try to include each of these nutrient groups in your meals. For example, you might have a healthy dinner of fresh salmon, asparagus and brown rice.
6. Slow Your Roll
Experts have recommended eating slower for decades. When you chew slower, you are more mindful about what you are eating. On the other hand, we eat fast when we are very hungry, which usually leads to overeating.
Take your time, enjoy your company, and savor the taste of your food. Make an experience of your meal. You will find your dining more pleasurable, even as you eat less food.
7. The Half Diet
The half diet is so brilliant someone should write a book on it. Then again, the idea is so beautifully simple, the author would have trouble filling up more than one page.
Whenever you are about to eat a large food item, such as a big sandwich, pizza, or oversized omelet, just eat half of it. Save the other half for leftovers. In this way, you can eat two meals with proper portion size.
8. Prioritize Your Eating Order
For most of us, we eat the most delicious food item on our plate first. Often times, this means fruits and vegetables come last and by then we may be full.
Instead, fill up on the foods with the highest nutritional value first. That’s why salads are such a good idea before a more, they are nutritional and help us feel satiated. After you’ve eaten your fruits and veggies, move on to your protein sources, such as fish or beans. And conclude your meal with the carbohydrate foods, such as pasta or rice.
9. Indulge Yourself
Yes, that’s right. We said it. Indulge yourself just not excessively.
It’s hard to stay on track when we’re watching what we’re eating and how much we consume. Reward yourself each day with a small portion of your favorite snack.
It’s easier to stay with a meal and portion plan when you don’t feel deprived. It’s human nature to abandon ship when you feel like you are sacrificing and not having much fun.
A little snack goes a long way towards making portion control a “doable” endeavor that can even be quite enjoyable.
10. Gastric Bypass
If you’re having trouble dieting, you might want to consider Orbera, a non-surgical, non-invasive procedure to help you control your portions.
The results are real and the practice has been used successfully for over 20 years. Here’s how it works.
Your Portion Control Guide: The Bottom Line
As you incorporate the hacks in this portion control guide, remember that consistency is the key.
Notice we didn’t say it’s important to be perfect. You won’t be; no one is. Have a plan ahead of time for when you slip.
Don’t beat yourself up. It’s no big deal. You can always get back on track with your next meal.
If you would like some help with portion control, learn about Orbera now.