Portion Patrol

Tips to keep your servings under control.

The chips taste so good, and before you know it the whole bag is gone.
You paid for the buffet, why not go back for seconds or thirds?

That heaping bowl of ice cream tastes so good it’s hard to remember that food equals calories equals weight gain.

For many people, overeating is one of the greatest diet pitfalls. Learning how to limit portion sizes is key to weight loss and keeping those extra pounds off for good.

With the way restaurants oversize drinks and serve meals large enough for two people, it’s no wonder you have a distorted view of what a right portion size is. Here are a few tips to help you reduce the amount of food you eat and feel satisfied at the same time.

Limit Distractions

How many times a week do you eat while surfing the web or watchingtelevision? While you mindlessly eat, the box of cookies makes its way to your stomach and you feel like you’re about to bust. It’s easy to overeat when you eat mindlessly, so make it a priority to eat in a quiet, calm atmosphere in which you can savor each bite and realize when you’re full.

Don’t Skip Meals

Too rushed in the morning to grab a bite to eat or too busy at work to stop for a quick lunch break? Then you’ve set yourself up to overeat at mealtime. When you’re really hungry, you’ll likely give yourself the excuse to eat more than you really need. Skipping meals also throws your metabolism out of whack because it doesn’t know when to expect its next meal.

Switch Plates

It may look silly, but it can really work. Instead of filling your regular-size dinner plate with food, fill a salad-size plate. When you’re done eating, sit for a few minutes at the table, talking with family, before getting seconds. This way, you’ll have time to figure out if you’re truly still hungry.

Limit Snack Sizes

One serving of peanuts is just a small handful, but when you’re watching the game and eating straight out of the container it can be easy to eat several handfuls. Limit your portion size by putting the correct serving size of snack in a smaller container rather than eating out of the bag, box, or jar.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

It’s a lot harder to say no to temptation when it’s staring you in the face, so keep extra food off the dinner table. By leaving serving dishes on the counter instead of in the middle of the table you’ll be less likely to serve up seconds when you’re not really hungry. As soon as the meal’s over, place leftovers in portion-sized containers to eat for lunch.

When eating out, ask for a take-home container to come with your meal. Then divide your food into healthy portions before starting to eat.

Know Correct Serving Sizes

Wonder why you’re not losing weight or having trouble controlling your diabetes? Dieters counting calories can easily get their totals wrong by misjudging serving size. How much does a cup of cereal really look like in a bowl? What does a three-ounce steak look like? To know you’re getting it right, it’s time to get out the measuring cups and kitchen scale. After a few days of taking the time to measure out the correct serving size of different foods and placing them on a plate or bowl, you’ll learn what a serving looks like.

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