We can get so caught up on focusing on what we are eating, we can forget to acknowledge how much we are eating. Here are a few tips to help you control your portion sizes:
Raid your grandma’s kitchen
Pull out Grandma’s old plates and let’s compare them with the modern platter-sized plates that we eat from today. Over the years we have been withdrawn from the concept of plates simply being used for eating purposes and more so for decoration and trend. Psychologically, by using smaller plates we feel as though we are eating more because our plates appear to be much more abundant and full. Smaller portions equal less calories, which can lead to weight loss.
Don’t be fooled by health claims
Studies have shown that when we think something is good for us, we often eat more than we should. Coconut oil, granola, nut spreads and raw slices, regardless of their health impact, eating too much of any calorie-rich food means we’re more likely to gain weight.
Pull out the measuring cups
Measuring our portions can help us keep in portion-control check. You may have initially used measuring utensils when serving out your favorite foods but overtime your portions can become second nature and more so a “guess-estimation”. Without even realising, your proportion sizes have slowly tripled in size over time. Don’t be afraid to bring back the measuring cups as a portion size reminder.
Start with a soup
With the colder seasons approaching, there is no better comfort food than a warming winter soup. Starting a meal with a hearty vegetable soup will not only provide you with several servings of your recommended daily intake of fresh veg. It will also help to regulate your main meal by keeping your consumption of calorie-rich carbs and protein down.
Buy individual servings of foods
Whether it’s a healthy trail mix or a more highly processed packet of chips, aim to choose the individually portioned and packaged option. This way, you are less likely to eat the entire family sized serving as described on the package fine print. If you prefer to buy bulk food items, pre-portion them into a small bowl and put the large packet away rather than eating straight from the bag or box.
Use your hand as a guide
Using your hand as a portion guide means that no matter where you are, you can check you’re on track with your portion sizes. Naturally a larger man with a larger hand needs a bigger portion than a petite lady with a small hand. Here are some safe guidelines to follow; your thumb is the size of added fats, such as nuts or avocado, your palm is your protein size and your fist should resemble the size of your cooked carbohydrates portion.
If you want to ‘up-size’ your meal, ‘up-size’ your non-starchy veggies
If you find you have a generous appetite and you’re always opting to supersize your meal whenever possible. The one time you can go large, is with your veggies. This is because they’re high in fibre and water, but very low in calories. If you aren’t fully satisfied and are needing to increase your serving size, here are some examples where you can increase your serving by simply increasing your veggies. Add extra veggies to your stir-fry or soup, include a big green side salad to your meal, grate a zucchini into your porridge or by simply adding some veggie sticks to your afternoon snack.
Cook at home more often
When we eat out, we are given a certain amount of food, which more often than not we feel we have to finish. By cooking at home, we have more control of the portions we dish up for ourselves.
Slow it down
Research shows that it takes 20 minutes for our food to be digested and for the brain to register that we’ve eaten enough. By eating slowly, it gives the body the appropriate time to send the signals to the brain that we are full, resulting in us putting our fork down. If we engulf our meal without the chance to batter an eyelid, by the time the signal is sent to the brain, we are already in a complete food coma and wishing we had stopped eating sooner.
Start with a glass of water
By starting a meal with a big glass of water, this will begin to fill the volume of your stomach and restrict the portion of food you are able to eat. Plus, we often confuse thirst for hunger and eat when in fact we’re thirsty. So quenching your thirst before a meal might help to satisfy some of that appetite.