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5 Portion Control Tips


Losing or maintaining weight is a math equation. Burn more calories than you consume, and weight loss can begin. Eat more calories than your body uses, and the pounds are bound to return. It seems very simple – but we all know reality is much different than adding and subtracting a few numbers.

For all the diets, weight-loss gimmicks, and exercise programs on the market today, managing your weight comes down to eating the right foods in the right size portions. For those who didn’t do well in algebra class, here are a few portion control tips that can help you reduce your calorie intake without breaking out the abacus.

Drink Water

Drinking water about 30 minutes before a meal will make you feel fuller, faster. Studies in which adult men drank 16 ounces of water before eating saw a 13% reduction in calorie consumption. Simply drinking water may be the easiest, yet most effective portion control tip on the list.

Eat Slowly

In our fast-paced lives, eating slowing may not appear to be a viable option. However, a few simple changes can help keep how much you eat in check. For example, chew on each bite of food for 30 seconds, avoid eating while on the run, and don’t eat while watching TV or searching your phone. When you focus on your meal and eat more slowly, you will find that you feel full before your meal is finished.

Use Small Plates

Studies have shown people eat more when their serving containers are larger. When the choice is available, use a smaller plate before serving your meal. Take this tip one step further for snacks by placing the amount you want to eat on a small plate, rather than eating straight out the bag or container.

Hand Sized Servings

We are visual creatures. If the imperial measuring system has you confused, use your hand as a guide to proper serving sizes. As a rule of thumb, follow these guidelines to keep your portion sizes in check:

  • Your fist = 1 cup
  • Your palm = 3 to 4 ounces
  • The center of your palm = 1 to ounces
  • Your entire thumb = 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • The tip of your finger = 1 teaspoon

Eat Half a Meal

This tip will not only help your waistline, but also your wallet. Going out to dinner is fraught with tough dietary decisions. Instead of worrying about your meal choice, commit to only eat half of your meal and take the rest home. You are guaranteed to cut the calories in half while also having a meal ready for tomorrow.

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