Are Your Portions Sizes Out of Control?

Are Your Portions Sizes Out of Control?Part of eating healthier is making sure you don’t overeat. In fact, cutting down on portion size is one of the most important things you can do to eat less so you can lose weight and keep it off long term. But thanks to bigger plates and larger restaurant-size portions, managing portion sizes and understanding how much is too much are more difficult than ever. Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you gauge the correct portion sizes for many of the most popular foods, whether you’re at home or eating out.

  • First, measure your plates, bowls, and cups to determine just how big your portions really are. Begin by pouring your normal serving of juice or milk in a cup or glass. Then transfer the liquid into a measuring cup. How many ounces are you drinking with each serving? And how many ounces is a typical serving supposed to be? Do the same with your breakfast cereal. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably be surprised to see how much larger your actual portions are compared to the recommended portion size.
  • Invest in special plates and utensils. Plates that are divided into three sections make it easier to judge sizes, and smaller plates, cups, and bowls trick your brain into thinking you’re having more than you really are.
  • Pay attention to how you feel when you eat, and stop eating as soon as you feel full. Too many of us have been taught to “clean our plates.” That may be sound advice when our portions are under control, but when portion sizes are larger, it can easily result in hundreds of extra calories a day.
  • Use these common portion control visual aids when gauging your portion sizes.
    • A deck of cards is equivalent to a three-ounce serving of meat or poultry; a checkbook is about the same as a three-ounce portion of fish.
    • Half a tennis ball is about the same as a half cup serving of vegetables, fruits, or pastas.
    • A golf ball is roughly equivalent to two tablespoons of peanut butter.
    • An ounce of cheese is about three playing dice.
    • One pancake should be about the size of a DVD.
  • When eating out, order a smaller portion when possible, or put half in a takeout container as soon as your order reaches your table.

Controlling portion sizes may seem like a hassle, but it’s an important habit that can yield amazing results over time.