Easy Portion Control Tricks
Well, as I was thinking about what to write in this issue, one of the things that struck me was the weight that I had gained over the holidays. I am sure many of you are in a similar situation. So I decided why not right about some of the easier ways to get rid of the holiday bulge.
Of course your comments and suggestions are always welcome and I look forward to them. Indeed your feedback will be invaluable in my endeavor to keep this column relevant and useful.
The first step in successful portion control is learning the correct serving size — this is the amount of food recommended by government agencies, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans put out by the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. The serving size can usually be found by reading nutritional labels. But the portion is the amount of food or drink a person chooses to consume. In many cases, the portion eaten is larger than the serving size simply because we don’t know any better.
“Portion control is limiting what you eat,” says Mary M. Flynn, RD, PhD, chief research dietitian and assistant professor of medicine at the Miriam Hospital and Brown University in Providence, R.I. “It is being aware of how much food you are actually eating and what calories are in that serving.”
The good news is that with a little practice, portion control is easy to do and can help people be successful in reaching and then maintaining a proper weight.
Here are 10 simple ways to keep your portions a healthy size:
- Measure accurately.
For foods and beverages, use gadgets like a measuring cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, or food scale.
- Learn how to estimate serving sizes.
“‘Ballpark’’ food portion sizes by estimating serving sizes in comparison to known objects - for example, three ounces of cooked meat, fish or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards. Other easy measurements to eyeball include: 1 cup is the size of a tennis ball or 1 ounce of cheese is the size of a domino
- Use portion control dishware.
Pick out smaller plates, bowls, cups, and glassware in your kitchen and measure what they hold. You might find that a bowl you thought held 8 ounces of soup actually holds 16, meaning you’ve been eating twice what you planned.
- Dish out your servings separately.
Serve food from the stove onto plates rather than family-style at the table, which encourages seconds.
- Make your own single-serving packs.
“Re-portion bulk quantities of favorite foods such as pasta, rice, and cereal into individual portions in zipper bags. This automatically will help limit the number of portions/servings being consumed.
- Add the milk before the coffee.
When possible, put your (fat-free) milk into the cup before adding the hot beverage to better gauge the amount used.
- Measure oil carefully.
This is especially important because oil (even the healthful kinds like olive and safflower) have so many calories: never pour directly
- Control portions when eating out.
Eat half or share the meal with a friend. If eating a salad, ask for dressing on the side. Dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad.
- Add vegetables.
Eat a cup of low-calorie vegetable soup prior to eating a meal, or add vegetables to casseroles and sandwiches to add volume without a lot of calories.
- Listen to your hunger cues.
Eat when hungry and stop when satisfied or comfortably full. Stop eating when you are about 80% full. There will be more food at the next meal.
Hope these tips help you along your journey to a healthy weight!