Nearly every weight loss plan will recommend practicing some form of portion control. The logic is simple: eat less, weigh less. But our judgment about proper portion size has been severely distorted by restaurants, food packaging, and years of poor practice. Learning how to properly portion your food will require time, patience, and the development of new skills.
Tips to Practice Portion Control for Better Weight Control
- Use kitchen scales or measuring cups to familiarize yourself with portion sizes. Check out the recommended serving sizes on your food’s label and use a measuring cup to dole out proper servings. Use your scale to weigh meats, seafood, fruits, and vegetables.
- Use visual cues to help you judge portion sizes. For example, a serving of fish, which weighs in at 3 ounces, is about the size of a deck of cards. A serving of fresh fruit, or 1/2 a cup, is about the size of a tennis ball. This will be easier to do if you start measuring and weighing your food for a while.
- Don’t put dinner on the table. Instead of bringing all the food to you, prepare your plate at the stove before sitting down to eat. This way, getting seconds will require another trip back to the stove, which will give you a chance to rethink your total portion sizes.
- Never eat from the box. Always put your snack into a bowl or on a plate, then put the box away. This will make you mindful of exactly how much you’re eating.
- Downsize when you dine out. Restaurant portion sizes are almost always larger than you need. Request a to-go container immediately and plan to take the excess home. You might also consider requesting a lunch-sized portion or ordering from a kids’ menu.
The most important step toward better portion control is to start paying attention to how much you’re eating. Once you’re more aware, you can take measures to reduce the excess from your plate and your waistline.