Portion control is probably one of the least favorite topics to think about when trying to lose weight. Images of scales, measuring cups and spoons, and countless hours weighing and remembering how much of what food you ate springs to mind when the words ‘portion control’ are uttered.
Yet it doesn’t have to be that way, or that hard. There are a few simple tricks to portion control that, when practiced consistently on a daily basis, yield weight loss results.
1) Divide and conquer: This trick is the easiest and can be practiced anywhere with any menu, whether you are in a restaurant, visiting a friend’s house, or at home. Look at your plate when it is empty and divide it in half. The top half should be filled with vegetables or a combination of fruit and vegetables. Fresh tossed iceberg lettuce salad along a side of steaming broccoli. Bright carrots sitting next to a lovely serving of green beans. Sliced sweet strawberries nestled up against a mound of dark leafy greens. You get the idea. The top half of your plate should always reflect a combination of foods that are fruits and vegetables, or just all vegetables.
The lower half of your plate should be split into two sides: one side is the protein. Chicken, beef, fish, or beans should occupy this portion of your plate. The other side should play host to a carbohydrate, preferably complex: brown rice, a slice of pumpernickel bread, or maybe a serving of whole grain pasta (without any cream or butter-based sauce). And that’s really all there is to it! Portion control without heavy thinking, no matter what is being served.
2) Smaller is better: Another easy tip is one of the oldest dieting tricks in the book – a smaller plate. When you fill up your (smaller) plate with the ratio of vegetables, fruits, carbs, and protein mentioned above, you will trick your mind into thinking that you really are indulging – your eyes can’t see any empty space on the plate, so this meal is going to be satisfying!
3) Work it to get it: Don’t bring the serving dishes to the table. Studies show that when you have to get up from the table to get another helping of food from the stove or kitchen counter, chances are you won’t. Overeating is reduced, and in turn, so is your total caloric intake for that meal. Do that for every meal and your total daily calories will be reduced, aiding in your weight loss. So keep those pots, pans and dishes of food away from the table and on the kitchen counter. Your waistline will thank you for it!