When it comes to eating, people have many different habits they follow for eating throughout the day. For some people, portion control tips might not be needed.
They are grazers or they eat small meals all day long. Then there are others that don’t eat as many meals, but they eat more calories during each meal.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our policies for more details.
There is not necessarily a right or wrong way to get your nutrition. I like to eat within 2 or 3 hours of getting up in the morning and my husband can go all day without eating and then have one large meal in the evening.
If you are a person trying to lose weight, it is important to stand back and evaluate how you are taking in your calories during the day. This may be something you want to keep a journal of just to see your eating patterns.
Changing eating patterns that are not healthy can take time. But if you make little changes you will see your life change and new healthy habits will form.
Portion control can be a healthy habit that will set the foundation for losing weight. And when you are eating out or at a gathering, realizing that a portion is really 2 or 3 portions, will be on you. How much you put in your mouth is in your control.
Here are 10 tips that will help you keep your servings the right size to keep you healthy.
1. Use a Small Plate
I think this is my favorite tip for controlling the amount of food I eat. A small plate can be full and have fewer calories than a normal size plate that is full.
Get your self some new white plates (the new square ones) and fill them with colorful fruits and vegetables. Add 2 -3 ounces of protein and you will have a tasty portion-controlled meal in no time.
2. Cut Restaurant Servings in Half
Restaurants are notorious for serving portions that are well over a normal serving size. Take note of how many ounces are contained in your meal.
Also, keep in mind, the weight or portion size printed in a menu was what it should be. It could be larger or smaller. The quickest and easiest way to control what you eat at a restaurant is to ask for a take-out box and put half of the meal in the box.
3. Weigh and Measure Serving Sizes
I know, I know…weighing and measuring is old school, but it works. Using this method is the most exact way of knowing just how many calories you are getting with each bite.
If you want to be sure, you cannot go wrong with weighing and measuring. If you don’t want to do when you eat out, just follow the above tip for controlling portions at a restaurant.
4. Eat at a Proper Meal Spot
In other words…eat at a table, breakfast bar, kitchen island or other similar location. Eating in front of a screen should be off-limits.
Mealtime should be mealtime and screen time should be its own thing. Sitting in front of a computer, TV or game screen and eating at the same time can lead to overconsumption with no awareness.
Food is something to be savored and enjoyed and without outside distractions.
5. Drink Water Before Each Meal
Drinking water will make you feel full. I try to put off eating until 10am each morning and if I get hungry before then, water will do the trick.
Water can be a big help when it comes to controlling portions and losing weight. If you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first just to make sure you are not just thirsty.
Sometimes the thirst and hunger can be confused.
6. Don’t Eat Directly From the Container
Think about it. If you are eating ice cream out of the box, can you tell how much you are eating? We all like to indulge in our favorite foods.
And there is nothing wrong with that, but if these foods are high in calories, it is a good idea to have an idea how much you are eating. Put the food in a serving container that will allow you to know approximately how much you are eating.
7. Buy Individual Servings
If it is a food that I know I am powerless over, I will buy individual serving sizes. While this might not be the most cost-effective way of buying food, it keeps me from taking a multi-serving container and eating it all in one serving.
The best way to avoid eating a large amount of something is to only have one serving available.
8. Use Your Hand to Judge Serving Sizes
Years ago Weight Watchers (WW) used to say your protein should be about the size of a deck of cards or the size of the palm of your hand.
Using this method is an easy way of making sure you are not overeating.
A rough guide for each meal is:
High-protein foods: A palm-sized serving for women and two palm-sized portions for men — such as meat, fish, poultry and beans
Vegetables and salads: A fist-sized portion for women and two fist-sized portions for men
High-carb foods: One cupped-hand portion for women and two for men — such as whole grains and starchy vegetables
High-fat foods: One thumb-sized portion for women and two for men — such as butter, oils and nut (1)
9. Keep A Food Journal
A food journal is not only a great way to track your portions for each meal and snack, it will also give a snapshot of what your eating patterns looks like throughout the day.
If your portion sizes are down on paper, you can see where you could be possibly overeating. Food journals can also be used to track moods and events.
Armed with this information, you may be able to spot triggers that are leading to emotional eating.
10. Take It Easy
This is kind of a big one. Anything you can do to control stress goes a long way in helping you control emotional eating.
Stress management will help you control the urge to overeat. Eating slower will allow to taste and enjoy your food.
You will begin to recognize being full before you overeat. Having a meal should be an experience. Take the time to enjoy good company and tasty flavors.
Final Thoughts – Portion Control Tips
Large portions can be a killer. They make you feel stuffed and uncomfortable. And then there is the weight you can gain by eating large portions.
But there are ways you can control your portions. Portion control will allow you to have your cake and eat it too. You can put almost anything on your menu as long as you have it in moderation.
If you don’t know where to start, look at what is on your plate and cut the portion in half. You can always start by looking at what the label considers a serving size and go from there.