Portion control is critical to anyone who is trying to successfully count their food intake. The person who thinks he or she can visually determine 6 ounces of meat or half cup of ice cream probably is not doing all that well on the diet.
Successful eating plans require food scales, measuring cups, and no guesswork.
For most, it’s impossible to visualize a serving size, especially if the dieter measures by hunger level versus by a scale.
Why Worry About Portion Control?
Portion control is essential. That half-cup of ice cream, if not measured, could go from 120 calories to 400 calories with one “just a bit more” scoop. Consider bagels or muffins, which were once a safe 100 calories.
Today’s supersized breakfast breads can blow anyones entire calorie count before lunchtime.
A dieter must cut back on the quantity of food eaten. That’s not easy in a country in which the perception is ingrained that large portions of food are desirable and small portions make one feel cheated.
The types of food being served can determine portion control. If dinner is a platter of spaghetti with meatballs, cook just enough for the number of diners being served. If the side dish is steamed vegetables, feel free to cook extra. The larger the portions that are served, the more people will eat (whether they are hungry or mindlessly eating).
How to Portion Food Correctly
- Measure your food! Always!
- If you don’t have a scale on measuring cups, consider these measurements:
- ½ cup is the size of an ice cream scoop
- 1 cup is the size of a tennis ball
- 1 ounce of cheese is the size of a domino
- When serving a meal, serve from the stove, versus large serving platters
- Reduce the size of your dinner plates. Smaller plates make for smaller portions.
- Break down your purchases into single serving packs. For example, instead of freezing an entire package of ground turkey, divide it into individual portions and freeze then individually.
- When eating out, check the menu for portion hints. If the offering is a double chicken breast, anticipate taking half home. If the baked potato is jumbo, ask for a take home box immediately. If it’s a 12-ounce steak, anticipate cutting it in half.
- Increase the visual portion sizes on your plate by decreasing the high carbs and replacing them with more vegetables.
- Looking forward to dessert? Cut the treat in half by sharing.
- Turn off your television. Controlling how much you eat requires paying attention. If you’re watching television or playing computer games, you are more likely to mindlessly eat.
- Think visual. The more food that is in front of you, the more you are likely to eat. Consider the reaction to dining on a platter of pasta versus a single serving of pasta. You can feel full with the single serving of pasta whereas you will feel stuffed and guilty with the platter of pasta.
- Don’t eat out of a box or bag. That popcorn should be served in a small bowl, not consumed by the fistful from the bag.
- If available try a restaurants tasting menu. It’s fun, it offers variety, and it’s portion control.
- Read nutrition labels: Determine the amount of food in a serving and then measure it out.
- Don’t trust your eyes. Measure everything.
Our minds are skewed by the bounty of food that is available. Some steak houses offer a whopping 18 ounces prime rib. Faced with that large slab of beef, some diners forget that 18 ounces of meat could feed a family of four at their kitchen table. Instead, the meat eater thinks: “It is in front of me; I will eat it all.”
I know that there are lots of ways that we have opportunities to overeat so following these portion control tips are really key to getting the right amount of food, being satisfied eating, and not overeating.
Are these great tips for you? I know that there are lots of tricks that help me with portion control and I think I have covered them all here.