Portion control can be one of the most difficult parts of losing or maintaining weight, especially during the holiday season. Unfortunately, it's easy to gain weight when you're not watching your portion sizes. In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume, which is why portion control is essential to a healthy lifestyle.
Practicing good portion control entails understanding how much food you should eat in a single sitting or meal. It sounds simple enough, but since most of us don't have serving sizes memorized or carry measuring cups around with us, gauging proper serving sizes can be a challenge. In fact, research has shown that people tend to eat more food when they're served larger portions.
Here are some ways to keep track of serving sizes and practice good portion control.
Learn what a portion looks like
Memorize a few simple visual cues to remind yourself what proper serving sizes look like. For example, a single serving of vegetables is about the size of a baseball, while a serving of meat or protein is about the size of a deck of cards.
If you're hungry, drink some water before you eat. The body can sometime interpret dehydration as hunger, so a tall glass of water may help fill you up and prevent overeating.
Double up on vegetables
Raw, steamed or roasted vegetables are a great item to fill your plate with, since they're high in fiber and low in calories. By adding spinach to a sandwich or swapping out mushrooms for ground meat, you can double up on deliciousness while cutting calories.
Plan your plate
The color and size of your dinnerware can influence what and how much you eat. For example, it's been shown that plates that don't contrast in color with the food they're holding can cause people to eat more. The size of your plate matters, too. The larger the plate, the more likely you are to serve yourself more food.
Eating slowly allows your body time to process the food you're eating and signal that it's full. One way to slow down is to eat foods that require shelling, peeling or unwrapping, like oranges, edamame or shelled pistachios.
For more information on portion control and overall health and nutrition, contact Goshen Health's team of trained dietitians.