One of the most effective ways to both lose weight and maintain your weight is to manage the size of your meals.
Learning about appropriate portion sizes for the various food groups is the first step.
Once you know what a healthy portion looks like, then you can take advantage of a few tips and tactics to stay in charge of what you eat.
#1 What is a Food Portion, Anyway? What Does it Look Like?
The first step is to know how much you’re supposed to eat to meet your body’s nutritional and caloric needs.
There are a few handy visual aids to make this step easy:
* Meat – The size of a deck of cards
* Vegetables or grains – the size of your fist (or if you have a large hand, about the size of a tennis ball)
* Fats and dressings – two dice
* Bread – a hockey puck
#2 Out of Sight
One simple tactic to make sure you only eat what you need is to keep serving dishes off of the table. Fill your plate at the counter or stovetop and then sit at the table.
You’ll be less tempted to reach out for seconds or to nibble from the dish.
#3 Veggies First
If you eat your vegetables first, before your meats and grains, you’ll fill up faster. You may not have room for that serving of meat, bread, or pasta.
#4 Eat More Slowly
One of the reasons many people tend to overeat is because they eat quickly. It takes your body about twenty minutes to send a “full” signal to your brain.
Eat more slowly and your body will have time to send the right signals to your brain before you’ve eaten too much.
#5 Eat More Often
Eating three meals a day is old school. What happens is you’re so hungry for lunch or dinner that you eat more than you need in an attempt to provide your body with the energy that it requires.
If you eat five to six smaller meals each day you won’t run to the table and you won’t feel the need to eat as quickly.
#6 Measure It
If you really want to stay on track and eat just what your body needs, and no more, then consider getting a kitchen scale.
In the beginning it can be a bit of a hassle to measure everything. However, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating and you’ll learn what an appropriate portion looks like.
There are also measuring cups and tools you can purchase for this purpose.
#7 Storage Smarts
Finally, consider storing your leftovers and prepared meals in single portion containers. For example, instead of storing an entire leftover meatloaf in a container, portion it out into single servings and store each serving separately.
Portion control is a learned skill. Give yourself time and use the cues and tips that help you learn best. Controlling your portions is one of the best ways to manage weight.
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