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Control your portions: 10 tips

It is very easy to overeat at every meal and consume hundreds of excess calories without even thinking about it.  Portion control is something that can easily make or break your weight loss efforts.  It is important to pay attention to serving sizes, while listening to your hunger and enjoying your food every time you eat. Here are some tips for decreasing your portion sizes and cutting calories while still feeling satisfied.

  1. Add veggies to each meal.   Adding vegetables to your plate can trick your mind into thinking you are eating a large portion of food without breaking your calorie bank.   Not only will vegetables help you to feel fuller, faster, they will add nutrients to every meal. Try adding mushrooms and peppers to your pasta to save yourself from eating all of the carbohydrates. Instead of potato chips with your sandwich, try carrots or sliced peppers to give yourself the crunch factor.
  2. Use smaller plates and utensils.  If you use smaller plates or bowls, your mind will think you are eating more food.  Try a small cup for ice cream instead of a big bowl. You will still satisfy your sweet tooth while saving yourself loads of sugar.  Using a smaller spoon or fork will also allow you to consume less food during every mouthful.
  3. Ask for a doggy bag. Serving sizes at restaurants can be two to three times as big as really needed to feel satisfied. Ask your server for a box to wrap half of your meal up before you even start eating.   As a bonus, you will have lunch ready for the next day.   
  4. Eat slowly.  It is easy to eat food as fast as possible when it tastes good. Stop for a moment between bites and breathe.  Put your fork down and enjoy the taste and aroma of every bite.  The slower you eat, the faster you will feel full so you can save the rest of your meal.
  5. Measure your food.  Invest in a food scale if you really want to be on point with your serving sizes and calorie intake.   If you are eating pre-packaged food such as cereal or cookies, measure out serving sizes and place them in plastic baggies so that you do not overdo it.   Do not eat straight out of a container or bag because you are bound to overdo it.
  6. Eat, and only eat.  It is common to drive or walk around, use the computer, or watch television while eating. These are all distractions and will prevent you from focusing on your food and your hunger. Mindless eating will happen and you will be too distracted to realize that you are full.
  7. Brush or floss after dinner.  Nighttime is the post popular time for overeating.  Instead of heading back into the kitchen after dinner, try brushing your teeth or flossing so that you are not tempted to eat more.  A clean mouth can prevent you from craving more food and may even satisfy your sweet tooth.
  8. Keep trigger foods out of sight.  If a food is very tempting to overeat, do not keep it in your house.  I do not keep cereal in my house because one bowl typically turns into four bowls.  If you love ice cream, try single-serve ice cream sandwiches or frozen Greek yogurt to satisfy your craving.    
  9. Share your food. If you are ordering a work lunch or going out to dinner with a friend, order one meal and split it.  Order a salad to start if you are worried about feeling full.  You will save money (and calories) on lunch and dinner.
  10. Keep a food journal.  Write down your meals, portions, and calories to hold yourself accountable and stay on track. I personally would not want to write down that I ate four bowls of cereal for dinner.  It can also help to write down your feelings before and after every meal, and at what hours you start to feel hungry throughout the day.  You will start to learn what a normal portion size is for you, and will feel satisfied with less food.

 

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing lrstewar@gmail.com.