There’s no doubt that we are a society that eats for pleasure. Tasty snacks and elaborate meals are at the heart of all gatherings, from summer BBQ’s to formal parties. What movie is complete without buttered popcorn and a soda big enough for a small child to swim in?
when we’re thinking about adopting a weight management program, we should not only concern ourselves with what we eat, but how much of it we eat. If you’re the type to read nutrition labels, you probably scoff at the serving sizes. They’re pathetically small for the super size nation. However, it’s essential that we try to retrain ourselves to eat simply to fuel our bodies, not to feed until we can’t fit in another bite.
One of the best ways to do this is to exercise good portion control. Here are 5 tips to help start you out:
1) Don’t serve dinner ‘family style’ . Often, we just put a pot of food out and have everyone fill their dish at the dinner table. With an seemingly unending pile of foood in the center of the table, it’s way too tempting to overeat. To avoid this pitfall, plates should be made at the counter. Use the correct portions of each part of the meal. Immediately put leftovers away. You’ll be amazed how you’ll avoid stuffing yourself with this simple step.
2) Be aware of the correct portion size for meat – I know it’s often a point of pride to take down a 16 oz steak at your favorite restaurant, but that’s a ridiculous amount to eat in one sitting. Especially of red meat. Ideally, keep your steak and chicken portions to about 40z, which is roughly the size of a deck of cards. Pile up veggies on your plate to add volume as well as much needed nutrients.
3) Be aware of the correct portion size for starches with your meal (Rice/Pasta). Americans eat entirely too much pasta. In other parts of the world, pasta is a side dish only, not a complete meal. The correct portion size should roughly be the size of your fist. How often do you eat pasta the size of your plate? Also, if you are going to eat pasta as the meal, include a protein in the dish and opt for whole grain pasta. It’s worth the time to get used to it, it’s infinitely easier on your waist.
4) Control your snack sizes. How often do we sit in front of the television with a bag of chips and before we know it we’re down to the crumbs at the bottom of the bag? If you’re the type that must have a snack while vegging, put a serving on a plate and put the bag away. This will allow you to indulge a little without piling on the calories.
5) Put leftovers in single portion bags. If you have a few pieces of steak or chicken left over, cut it into 4 oz servings and bag them individually. Similarly, break the rice and pasta into single servings and put them into separate containers.
These ideas might seem a little silly as you read them, but in practice, it will go a long way. Most of all, remember that it takes a while for your brain to get the signal that your full. You’ll realize after about 20 minutes that you’re completely satisfied and you’ll cut your calorie intake by at least half, if not more.
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You can read a little more about the importance of Portion Control on WEBMD.