Portion Control Key to Weight Loss: Eating Smaller Servings Is an Easy Way to Diet
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But eating out or eating at home, how can you tell how much food you are actually consuming?
And with the holiday season just around the corner, calorie-rich, delicious food is going to be abundant, and so tempting!
Measure and Weigh
One way, especially at home, is to weigh and measure every item of food before you put it on the plate. There are software programs and web resources available that give you the calorific equivalent of any food, processed or fresh, so you can work out how much a portion should weigh to give your desired calorie intake.
This system works, if you stick with it, but it also places an undue emphasis on calories and can take away your enjoyment of the meal you’re preparing. There is a simpler rule of thumb way to reduce the amount you eat. Use smaller plates and bowls. This is one of the recommendations from the Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
What Is a Standard Serving?
The newsletter notes that it is hard to know whether we are eating a standard serving when we take an average portion of our favorite foods. We tend to treat portions as equivalent to nutritional servings, yet often portions are considerably larger than this.
A serving is a specific quantity of food designated on the basis of nutritional need. However, a portion – the amount you actually get on your plate, in the package, or at the food counter – is often much bigger. We don’t always read the Nutrition Facts labeling, and can easily end up eating two or three servings’ worth without realizing it. But there is hope.
The Women’s Health Watch says studies show we could learn to be satisfied with smaller portions if bigger ones weren’t so easily available. Other research has proved what we already know, especially during the holiday season — that the more plentiful the food, the more we eat!
Tips For Smaller Portions
So, the challenge is to limit our portion sizes without limiting our enjoyment of the food and the meals we share with families and friends. Here are some tips from The Harvard Women’s Health Watch for keeping portions in proportion:
Train your eye: Measure out servings as listed on the nutritional labeling (not portions) of the food you commonly eat so you know what a single serving looks like.
Change your tableware: Use a smaller bowl or a mug of cereal and a smaller plate at dinner.
Control portions at home: To discourage second helpings, serve food in the kitchen and take it to the table on plates.
Don’t wait until you are hungry: Eat at regular intervals throughout the day. If you wait until you’re hungry, you’re more likely to overindulge at the next meal.
Control portions while eating out: Avoid buffets and salad bars. Instead of the main course at dinner, order a low-fat appetizer and a large salad with dressing on the side.
Australian nutritionist Catherine Saxelby adds a couple more suggestions, particularly suitable for eating out.
– Quench your thirst with iced water or sparkling mineral water. If you’re ravenous, dampen your appetite with tomato or fruit juice.
– Start with a tossed salad or a soup. Avoid heavier, creamy or fried entrées. Or share an entrée with a friend.
– Don’t eat everything on your plate. Chefs are notoriously generous with portion sizes. You don’t have to eat everything that’s served. If they won’t do a half-portion, just eat slowly and stop when you feel satisfied.
So, you now know that portion control is a key to weight loss. If you are interested in more deep information about proper dieting you can click this link, where you can find info about diet plans.