We all know that in order to lose weight, we must cut back on the calories we consume each day. But if you don’t know what an appropriate portion size is, how can you possibly know how much to reduce it? The problem is that over the years, portion sizes have grown to 2-3 times more than anyone needs. I can’t help but think about the children’s movie, WALL-E where everyone purchases food (and everything else) from a company called “Buy N Large.” Unfortunately, most food companies and restaurants seem to use this concept when packaging their products and plating their food.
Our goal is to help you learn how to choose healthy portion sizes. This chart will give you visual cues that can help you make good decisions about appropriate portion sizes.
Along with bringing your portion sizes back in line, you will need to avoid some of the typical pitfalls along the way.
- Avoid eating in front of the TV or while busy with other activities. Pay attention to what you are eating, chew your food well, and fully enjoy the smell and taste of your food.
- Eat slowly so your brain can get the message when your stomach is full.
- Try using smaller dishes, bowls, and glasses. This way, when you fill up your plate or glass, you will be eating and drinking less.
- Control your intake of higher-fat, higher-calorie parts of a meal. Take seconds of vegetables and salads (watch the toppings and dressing) instead of desserts and dishes with heavy sauces.
- Eat 5-6 small meals at regular times each day. Skipping meals or leaving large gaps of time between meals may lead you to eat larger amounts of food the next time you eat.
- When buying snacks, go for fruit or single-serving prepackaged items and foods that are lower-calorie options. If you buy larger bags or boxes of snacks, divide the items into single-serve packages right away so you won’t be tempted to overeat.
- When you do have a treat like chips or ice cream, measure out only one serving as shown by the food label. Eat only 1/2 cup of ice cream or 1 ounce of chips, eat them slowly, and enjoy them!
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks. There are about 10 packets of sugar in a 12-ounce can of soda, while water has no added sugars.
To minimize the temptation of second and third helpings when eating at home, serve the food on individual plates, instead of putting the serving dishes on the table. Keeping the excess food out of reach may discourage overeating.