Managing portions can be difficult. Many of us feel like we have to clean our plate or we are wasting food. Or, we might not understand exactly how much food we need to be eating. Portions at restaurants and fast food places have given us a distorted view of how much food is contained in a serving.
However, it is important to practice the correct portion control if you want to be successful in maintaining your ideal weight, weight loss, or simply meeting fitness goals. Here are some ways to help you control how much you eat.
Weighing your food is a great method to manage portions. Understanding food labels can be confusing, especially when it comes to what constitutes a portion. Here is where a scale comes in. You can simply weigh your food and set the scale to the same unit of measurement as the label.
This way you can actually see how many grams or ounces make up a single serving. Weighing food might seem tedious, but as you get used to seeing how much food is in a serving, you will get better at just eye balling the correct portion.
Some foods are difficult to not overeat. Crackers, chips, and nuts are all foods that should be eaten in moderation. Have you ever opened a bag of chips only to find you have eaten the entire bag before you could stop yourself?
Here is where your scale can come in handy. You can measure out exactly how much of each snack you need and pack them in baggies or reusable containers. You can then pack those snacks for work or play and not worry about overindulging while on the go.
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3. Handful size
Your hand can help you figure out how much you should be eating. Eat a palm sized portion of protein, a thumb length of fat, cupped hand for carbohydrates, and closed fist for vegetables at every meal. Keep in mind that you may have different nutrition goals based on your exercise habits, so be flexible. If you find yourself hungry following this plan, then add in more healthy foods until you feel satisfied.
4. Check your plate size
There are a variety of ways you can use your plates to help control portions. If you are at home, try using smaller plates to help keep your food expectations in check. When you are out to eat, eat only half your plate. You can either share with a friend or save half for later. If you are in a situation where you are serving your own plate, fill half the plate with vegetables (and no, french fries do not count as a vegetable.)
Controlling portions might seem daunting at first, but you can learn how to accurately measure how much you eat. Keep a food journal as you learn what works and does not work for you. When you feel full, stop eating and notice how you look and feel after practicing portion control for two weeks. If you do not like the results, make some changes and try again.