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Tips To Control Portion Size

Jan 18, 2008
One of the biggest challenges for those trying to eat healthy and lose weight is the ability to control potion sizes. While you should certainly try to eat healthy foods when trying to lose weight, the amount of food you eat and the way it is consumed typically plays a greater role in weight loss than the food itself. Whether you are a LAP-BAND patient or are simply trying to lose weight by eating healthy, here are some important dos and don'ts to follow when trying to control your portion sizes.

Don't bring platters to the table

Regardless of what types of food you have prepared, arrange your plate in the kitchen and leave the serving dishes behind. Even if your family is celebrating a special occasion, try to keep the prepared food away from the dinner table. Following this tip will allow you to monitor your portion sizes and avoid going back for seconds. You may also want to consider packing up the extra food in portioned containers after everyone has prepared their plates. Not only will you limit your own temptation when you return to the kitchen, you might even be able to help your family and friends steer clear of the in-home buffet.

Do take advantage of smaller plates

An empty plate can often influence one's eating habits as much as the prepared meal. Regardless of the size of dish used at home or when dining out, most people will feel inclined to fill it with food. By using smaller plates and utensils as often as you can, you will be forced to limit your portions without facing the disappointment of seeing a near-empty plate.

Do enjoy single serving snacks

When you shop for groceries, look for healthy snacks that are prepackaged in individual servings. Likewise, avoid purchasing snack foods in large packages, as it easy to continue eating and lose track of the proper portions.

Don't eat in front of the TV

Though watching television while eating is the norm in many homes, this particular type of multitasking can have disastrous effects on portion control. While preparing a plate of food before turning on the television may serve as a solution for some, you should try to avoid all mealtime distractions when trying to lose weight. Most importantly, try to avoid distractions that could allow you to eat continuously from large packages containing potato chips and other snack foods. Rather than worrying about what is on television or trying to complete another task during your meal, try to concentrate on enjoying your food. Almost immediately you will gain a greater appreciation of everything you eat and find exciting new flavors along the way.

Do measure your portions and know your food

Prior to every meal, try to measure the proper portions of each food to prevent overeating. Begin by preparing your proteins, follow with fresh vegetables and keep track of the total weight of your meal. When you begin preparing portioned, healthy meals for yourself, it can be very useful to measure every item. After you understand what proper portions look like, you will be able to quickly prepare perfect meals.

When you eat out or prepare food in a hurry, use your new skills and try to visualize the right portions by comparing your servings to everyday objects. For instance, you might remember that a 3-ounce piece of meat is about the size of a deck of cards while one cup of rice or pasta is similar to a tennis ball.

Don't eat until you're full, but do listen to your body

Though this may be a difficult task to follow initially, you will quickly learn when to stop eating after a short period of healthy consumption. The easiest way to prevent getting full is to eat slowly. By giving your body time to process the food you've already consumed, you will not only have a better idea of how much food you can handle, but you'll also help promote healthy digestion.

As you will come to realize after working to control your portion sizes, the key to success lies in your ability to practice moderation. If you spend time getting to know both your food and your body, you will be able to eat healthy portions without feeling deprived. With a little bit of practice preparing your own food and ordering the right portions when eating out, you won't have any trouble sticking to your healthy eating habits and meeting your weight loss goals.
About the Author
Carole S. Guinane, a Chief Clinical Officer writes articles about obesity and weight loss for New Hope Today.
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