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Easy Ways to Control Food Portions

By: Catherine Burrows - Updated: 25 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Low Calorie Serving Size Portion Control

Low calorie eating isn’t just about choosing the right food but choosing the right amount of food. Even if you gorged on food that was perceived as low in calories, fat and sugar, you could still push your daily intake beyond its limits.

Portion control is vital to low calorie success. You don’t have to meticulously weigh every meal. There are plenty of easy ways to eat the right amounts without any of the hassle.

Do Everything by Halves

Take your normal meal and halve the amount served. This means you are already consuming 50% less protein i.e. fish or meat and 50% carbohydrates i.e. the potato, pasta, rice or bread part of your meal.

Replace the missing 50% of your meal with plenty of vegetables. Not only have you controlled your calories, you have also created a balanced meal which includes all the main food types you need to stay healthy.

Read and Learn

We all get used to our own ideas of the size of an individual portion. More often than not, it bears little resemblance to the reality of a standard serving size though.

The only way to ensure you don’t persistently overeat is to learn what proper servings of food look like.

Most people consume far more calories than they should in a single sitting simply by eating a large bowl of muesli for their breakfast. Each packet of cereal and most food products state the standard serving size clearly. Get into the habit of weighing your food to match the serving size for a few weeks.

Eventually you will be able to judge the correct amounts by eye and hopefully you will have successfully retrained your stomach to accept the proper amounts. Your calorie intake will be dramatically reduced.

Take your Time

It’s very tempting to help yourself to a second serving soon after finishing your first helping. However, it takes at least 20 minutes for the brain and stomach to effectively communicate a feeling of fullness. Eating too soon again after a meal, or eating too quickly ends with much higher calorie intakes and portions that far exceed your requirements.

Take your time to eat, keeping your mind on the meal in front of you. Drink a large glass of water before the meal and again afterwards. Chew each mouthful with proper care and when you finish your meal, wait at least 20 minutes before making a proper and final judgement about whether you need any more food.

Keep Regular

Don’t make the mistake of skipping meals or fasting. Prolonged periods without food mean you are far more likely to feast and get through portions that are much larger than they should be. Little and often is the main principle that will ensure you stick to proper portion control.

Clever Crockery and Cutlery

Fool yourself into thinking you are consuming larger potions. It’s an easy trick which really does work. Serve your meals on smaller plates; it looks like you are eating much more than you really are.

When serving sauces or salad dressings, don’t pour them over your meal, spoon them over with a small spoon. You are more likely to restrict your calories this way.

Superb Soup

Enjoy a low calorie vegetable broth before your main dinner. Eating a simple soup based on vegetables cooked in a low-fat stock is another excellent way to limit the amount of food that your serve yourself.

Clever Guide

A quick and clever guide to the amount of food you should serve yourself is:
  • The size of your palm= the size of a serving of meat or fish.
  • Your closed fist= the serving size for potato, rice or pasta.
Proper portion control will keep your low calorie lifestyle on track. It will mean a little adjustment and possible some weighing but after a reasonably short amount of time, you should be able to limit the amount of food you eat very effectively.

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