Research shows many factors can influence what you eat. People tend to eat all of what they put on their plate. Increasing portion sizes are thought to contribute to overeating and unwanted weight gain. Therefore, portion control can help prevent overindulging. Obesity is a fast-growing epidemic, as more people than ever are struggling to control their weight.
Here are some tips for measuring portion control sizes.
Science shows that sizes of plates, spoons, and glasses can unconsciously influence how much a person eats. As an example, using large plates can make food appear smaller – which often leads to overeating. People using a large bowl ate almost 80% more pasta than those using a medium-sized bowl. Even nutritional experts served themselves 31% more ice cream when given larger bowls and 14.5% more when provided with bigger spoons. Interestingly, most people who ate more due to large dishes were completely unaware of the change in portion size. In conclusion, changing your usual plate, bowl, or spoon for a familiar alternative can reduce the helping of food and prevent overeating. Most people feel just as full having eaten from a smaller dish as from a large one
Use A Portion Control Plate
If measuring or weighing food isn’t appealing, try using a portion control plate as your guide. This can help you determine the optimal macronutrient ratio for a well-balanced meal. A portion control plate helps with weight loss in several ways. First, it supports healthy and sustainable progress towards your goal rather than causing frustration or burnout from restrictive dieting and hunger pangs. Using a portion control plate can also help to stabilize blood sugar. Plus, it simplifies weight loss by eliminating calorie counting and measuring. It's the only tool you'll need all day to manage your food intake.
A portion control plate does more than help you measure out your food. It trains you to recognize what an appropriate amount of food is for your needs. Instead of piling food onto your plate, limiting your food intake, or guessing, a portion control plate helps you fill your plate based on healthy for you.
Research shows that the larger your plate, the more food you put on it. So, a larger plate makes it more likely you'll overeat. Portion control plates prevent overeating by shrinking the amount of space on your plate down to just the right amount.
Setting healthy meal expectations makes for a powerful shift in the way you eat. You won't have to calorie count anymore. You won't have to measure. But you'll still eat just what you need and only what you need. Your days of overeating will be over in a flash.
Think of portion control plates for weight loss like you think of cookie cutters for your favorite baked dessert. Just like cookie cutters ensure you use the right amount of dough per cookie, portion control plates make sure you get just the right amount of each kind of food at each meal. Place the portion control plate over your regular dinner plate and fill it up.
If you want extra guidance, some manufacturers sell portion-control plates.
Use Your Hands As a Serving Guide
Another way to gauge appropriate portion size without any measuring tools is by simply using your hands. As your hands usually correspond to your body size, bigger people who require more food, usually have bigger hands.
A rough guide for each meal is:
- High-protein foods: A
palm-sized serving for women and two
palm-sized portions for men — such as fish, meat, and beans.
- Vegetables: A
fist-sized portion for women and two
fist-sized portions for men
- High-carb foods: One
cupped-hand portion for women and
two for men — such as whole grains and starchy vegetables
- High-fat foods: One
thumb-sized portion for women and
two for men — such as butter, oils and nuts.
When Eating Out Ask For A Half Portion
Restaurants are known for serving overly large portions. Typically, restaurant serving sizes are about 2.5 times larger than standard serving sizes – up to a whopping eight times larger. If you are eating out, you can always ask for a half portion or a children’s dish. Doing this helps save a lot of calories and will prevent overeating. You could also share a meal with someone or order a starter and side instead of a main dish. Other tips include ordering a side salad or vegetable, asking for sauces and dressings to be served separately and avoiding buffet-style, all-you-can-eat restaurants where it’s very easy to overindulge.
Eating quickly makes you less aware of getting full — and therefore increases your likelihood of overeating. Your brain can take about 20 minutes to register that you are full after eating, slowing down can reduce calorie intake. Eating slowly leads to heightened feelings of fullness and decrease in food intake compared to eating quickly. People who eat slowly also tend to enjoy their meal more. In addition, eating on the go or while distracted or watching TV boosts your likelihood of overeating. Therefore, focusing on your meal and refusing to rush increases the chances you’ll enjoy it and control your portion sizes. Health experts recommend taking smaller bites and chewing every mouthful at least five or six times before swallowing.
Avoid Eating Straight From The Container
Jumbo packages or food served from large containers encourages overeating and less awareness of appropriate portion sizes. People tend to eat more out of large packages than small ones – regardless of food taste. For example, people ate about 130% more candies when served from a large container than a small one. In another study, participants consumed over 180 fewer grams of snacks per week when given 100-gram snack packs than when given snacks in standard-sized packages.
Drink A Glass Of Water Before Each Meal
Drinking a glass of water up to 30 minutes before a meal will naturally aid portion control. The more water you drink the less hungry you will feel. Being well hydrated also helps you distinguish between hunger and thirst. Older adults observed that drinking 17 ounces of water before each meal resulted in a 44% greater decline in weight over 12 weeks, most likely due to reduced calorie intake. Similarly, when overweight and obese older adults drank 17 ounces (500 ml) of water 30 minutes before a meal, they consumed 13% fewer calories without trying to make any change. Therefore, having a glass of water before each meal can help prevent overeating and aid portion control.
Document Your Meals
Research suggests that people are often shocked at how much food they eat. A study shows 21% of people who ate more due to having larger serving bowls denied having eaten more. Documenting all food and drink intake can increase awareness of how much food you’re eating. Becoming more aware of what you eat allows you to adjust your diet accordingly.
Unwanted weight gain stems from large portion sizes. However, there are many practical steps you can take to control portions. These simple changes have proven successful in reducing portions without compromising on taste or feelings of fullness. Measuring your food, using smaller dishes, drinking water before meals, or using a portion control plate have been proven to reduce overeating. At the end of the day, portion control is a quick fix that improves your quality of life and may prevent binging.