Watch Your Portions

If you’re just trying to lose a few pounds by trying to eat healthier, portion control is important. When you count calories, carbs or fat you also need to watch your portions. It doesn’t matter the way you plan to lose weight, knowing portion size makes a difference. Your idea of what a serving size of meat might be far different than the actual serving size. If you’re a woman, the serving size should be the size of your palm and for men, the size of two palms.

Your hands can be your guide on other types of food.

Make a fist. Starchy foods like potatoes, squash, peas and corn use a fist as a guide to portions. One fist for women and two fists of these foods for men. Cup your hand to find out how much grain, fruit or pasta is a serving size. The amount you can place in one cupped hand is approximately what a woman should eat, two cupped hands is for men. It’s the rule of thumb for fats. That’s right, use your thumb to measure how much fat to eat. The amount equal to one thumb for women, two thumbs for men.

Use your plate to guide healthy eating and portion size.

One of the oldest diet tips in the book is to use a smaller plate and it’s still good advice. It makes you feel like you’re eating more when you fill it, even though you’re not. However, you can also use your plate to measure the portion of various food. Protein should be about a fourth of the plate, just like complex carbohydrates should be, with a salad or vegetables half a plate. High fat food should be 1 ½ teaspoon.

Be aware that restaurants often serve larger portions.

Unless you’re eating at an extremely fancy restaurant where it’s all about delicate small portions presented in an artistic manner, most restaurants often serve twice as much food as portion size should be. Sometimes, the portions are as much as seven or eight times as much. Either ask for a child’s portion or share with a friend. If that’s not possible, choose side orders for your supper. There’s often an appetizer that could be the protein source, like shrimp, a side of vegetable and a side salad that is extremely filling and a complete meal.

  • Steer clear of buffets for a while. Even if you know portion control, it’s too easy to feel cheated when you’re not going back for seconds or filling your plate to the brim. If you’re trying to lose weight, buffets are often an expensive option, since you’re paying for food you won’t eat.
  • Drink plenty of water. There’s no portion size for water, since it fills you up without calories. Drink a glass or two about 30 minutes before you eat and you’ll feel fuller and eat less.
  • If you’re having a problem, consider buying a portion control plate. It makes it easier to learn to visualize the right portion size at first.
  • Eat slower and enjoy each bite. Chew each piece of food thoroughly. In fact, chew it far more than you think necessary. Enjoy conversation at the table. The longer you take to eat, the more time your brain has to be alerted that you’re full.

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