Weight Loss

How to Practice Portion Control without Feeling Overwhelmed

Evidence Based Article 📄
This article has been based on relevant and up-to-date scientific studies. Our writers are unbiased and objective and present the facts as they are known. Numbers in brackets within the article refer to sources included in the reference list at the end of the article.

Portion control is the major topic discussed by top nutritionists, dieters, and people trying to eat healthy. The restaurants and other places serving food have given us a wrong view of what’s a portion of the major meal or snack should look like. Moreover, very few people realize the importance of managing portions when eating out and at home. Many believe, portion control equals the constant feeling of hunger, but it’s not like that.

Portion control doesn’t mean you should eat tiny portions of EVERYTHING you put on your plate. It means eating the amount of food your body needs. Whether you’re on a diet or you simply want to start eating healthier, managing your meal portions will help you realize you eat more than your body needs. Read on to learn the basic lessons of portion control.

1.Change your plates

The larger your plate, the more food it contains. Even if you put a small portion of your meal on it, your eyes will send your brain and stomach a signal that it’s too little for them. Don’t let it happen and change the plates you’ve used to serve your meals with the smaller sized ones. That’s the trick restaurants use to fool us into ordering more, eating more, and thus paying more than we actually need. They serve enormously huge plates with a little amount of food on it. You automatically start believing it’s too little for you and you need to order more.

When you eat at home, use small plates but place your food in piles. This is the easiest way to trick your eyes to believe you’re eating a lot of food. When eating out, ask a waiter to serve your food in small plates too. It’s what celebs do when they dine out at the restaurants.

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2.Have a glass of water before a meal

Water is an amazing tool when it comes to weight loss. It helps you feel fuller quicker and it keeps your cravings at bay. Not to mention that it gives you more energy to exercise more intensely. Having a glass of water before each meal is a popular tip but many ignore it because they follow it the wrong way. The trick is you should drink water and wait at least 10 minutes before eating your meal. If you need to drastically cut the calories you consume, drink water after eating each 3 spoons of the meal.

A glass of water taken when you’re hungry will help you determine whether your body craves food or you’re just thirsty. Many people mistake thirst for hunger and thus eat when they actually need to drink a glass of water.

3.Practice mindful eating

Eating mindfully prevents those horrible feeling in the stomach after a meal. Moreover, it allows you to enjoy the flavors and textures every food contains. With tons of distractions like smartphones with social media platforms, laptops with serious projects, and a television with the favorite shows, it’s hard to focus on your plate only.

Eat slowly, chewing your foods carefully. This way you’ll eat less and feel full without overeating. The problem is, it takes a little while – typically 15 to 20 minutes – before your stomach sends a message to your brain that it’s full. Wake up earlier to eat your breakfast consciously and take your time in the evening to really enjoy your meal.

Mindful eating has also been shown to reduce bloating and ease stomach pain.

4.Start with a salad

This trick works for restaurants and home alike. If you’re striving to lose a lot of unwanted pounds, you should seek a way to cut the unhealthy fats to the minimum. Starting your meal course with a bowl of low calorie yet greens packed salad will satisfy your intense hunger pangs and you’ll eat less fatty meals. The same goes for desserts, order a fruit salad without dressings before you order your favorite pie.

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Green salads are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that aid in weight loss and help you feel and look healthier by warding off chronic stress, fighting inflammation, and increasing your energy.

5.Bulk up your meal with vegetables

Veggies are so versatile that they can replace you any calorie- and fat-dense meal, if you cook them correctly. Eggplants can replace a meat and they’re highly feeling, so instead of munching on chicken wings, opt for a stewed eggplant.  This resembles meat and fills you up with little calories. Mushrooms are another fantastic option. Experiment with veggies and use them in all your meals. You’ll see how less caloric your meals will be.

6.Choose snacks that need to be peeled, shelled, or unwrapped

Pistachios, edamame, oranges, grapefruit, kiwifruit, walnuts, carrots, and many other foods that require a bit of work before you put them in your mouth are excellent snack choices. The amount of time you spend on peeling or shelling gives your stomach a time to send a signal of “fulfillment” to the brain and prevents overeating. When packing your lunch for work, don’t peel anything; leave it for your lunch break.

7.Don’t eat from the box or bag

If you read a food label carefully, you’ll see the information about how many calories each serving contains and how many grams in a serving. Let’s take pretzels; 10 twists (around 60 grams) contain about 230 calories. Now think about how many twists each box contains and how many you eat in one set.

The same goes for whole-grain chips or any other diet-friendly snacks available in the supermarket. Read the labels and count the servings and calories before you start eating. Take a box or a bag and divide it into several portions. Place them in small containers or zip lock bags and have one whenever you feel hungry.

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If you there’s no information about servings, use a kitchen scale to weigh your food. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s actually a simple way to see how many ounces or grams make up one serving.

8.Reduce your portion before bed

It’s okay to feel hungry after 10 pm, however, mind the portion you eat at this time. It has to be thrice smaller than your regular snack portion size. Plus, it has to be super light so that you don’t end up staying awake until 3 pm. Have 4 slices of an apple, half a banana, or a half cup of low-fat Greek yogurt with 4 to 5 frozen berries. Your body doesn’t need a lot of food late in the night so don’t stuff it.

9.Share your food with friends

As mentioned before, restaurants tend to serve large portions, why not cut the calories while saving money by sharing your meals with the family members or friends? It’s even better if they are watching their portions as well. You can also ask a waiter to bring you half a portion if you have no one to share your food with.

Portion control is all about mindful eating. It’s about eating for optimal health, not for a bulky waistline. It may take a lot of time and patience before you finally learn how to eat your right meal portion, but don’t give up and leave the room for mistakes.

References:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806736/
  •  http://www.eufic.org/en/healthy-living/article/the-importance-of-portion-information-from-a-consumer-and-health-perspectiv
  • http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/26/portion.control/index.html

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