Guest Post: Tips to Control Portions

Fall photoHello Carrots N Cake readers! My name is Maria Lichty and my blog is Two Peas and Their Pod. I started a food blog a little over a year ago, with my handsome husband, Josh. We are a great team and have a lot of fun in the kitchen. We love trying new recipes, techniques, and flavors. We try to keep it healthy, but of course we have to splurge once in awhile. I agree with Tina, it is all about a healthy balance.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and work as a health educator for Utah’s worksite wellness program, Healthy Utah. I enjoy teaching and encouraging people to live a healthy lifestyle. Today I am going to share a few tips and tricks about portion control.

Have you noticed that the size of muffins, chocolate bars, sandwiches, bagels, and soft drinks are growing? Portion sizes are out of control! As portion sizes grow, we tend to eat much more than we need to stay healthy. Here are a few tips to help you control your portions.

The first step to mastering portion control is to identify what a recommended serving of your food selections looks like. If you are not sure what a correct portion size is, visit this site for some help: Making Sense of Portion Sizes.

Try measuring your food for awhile to see if you are eating the proper portion sizes. I like to measure out my cereal, pasta, cottage cheese, etc. Use measuring cups, spoons, and/or a food scale. You do not need to measure and count everything you eat for the rest of your life; just long enough to recognize standard serving sizes. Another helpful hint is to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, ¼ with a lean protein, and the other ¼ with a whole grain. I love these fashionable portion plates from Slimware. They are trendy, fun, and can help guide you to eat proper portions.

Here are a few other tips to try:

  • Don’t eat family style meals. If the food is in front of you, it is harder to avoid seconds. Fix yourself a plate and put the food away. Eat the leftovers for lunch the next day or freeze for later.
  • Replace large plates with smaller ones. I always eat my dinner on a salad plate.
  • Eat slowly so your brain can get the message that your stomach is full.
  • Don’t eat in front of the television. People tend to mindlessly eat while watching TV. Sit at the table and focus on your food.
  • Allow yourself to have a healthy snack, such as a piece of fresh fruit or veggies with hummus. This will help curb your hunger so you don’t over-eat when it’s meal time.
  • Keep unhealthy snacks out of sight. If a bowl of M&M’s is staring you down, it is hard to resist. Instead, keep a bowl of fruit on the counter.
  • If buy in bulk, repackage the food into small individual serving sizes. For example, I like to measure out a serving of almonds and put them in a little baggie so I am not tempted to eat the entire bag.

Try to prepare more meals at home. It will save you money, fat, and calories. When you do eat out, try these tips to help you control portions:

  • Share your meal, order a half-portion, or order an appetizer as a main meal.
  • Ask the waiter/waitress to remove the free bread or chips. They are too tempting!
  • Drink water-the perfect beverage. Avoid calorie loaded soft drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Stop eating when you begin to feel full. Focus on enjoying the setting, company, and conversation instead.
  • When traveling, bring along nutritious snacks such as: whole grain crackers, fruit, string cheese, nuts, yogurt, and bottled water. Being prepared will prevent you from stocking up on unhealthy treats at the gas station or going through the drive thru.

Do you have any portion control tips to share? Please comment below. Again, I believe in a healthy balance. It is ok to splurge once in awhile, but try to keep it healthy most of the time. 😀

26 Comments

  1. What great tips! I start in the grocery store by not buying junk foods. If I buy it I will eat it. If it’s not there guess what… I don’t even have the option of eating it! If I buy bagels or muffins I buy the mini ones. I also sometimes use small coffee mugs instead of bowls and always measure out high calorie foods like salad dressings. Thanks so much Maria!

  2. I completely agree with you about the growing portion sizes! And, I’m with Kristen on not buying bad stuff. I think that it is okay once in a while, but if I don’t want to eat Oreos all the time, they do not get bought. You will not find them in my house! It is just too tempting!

  3. My best helping tip : do not consume processed food (or try to avoid it as much as you could). That means no commercially made food or any food that aren’t made by yourself (or your health oriented mate)! Make your muffins and cookies yourself. Use whole food : whole grains, unrefined sugar, little or no fat, fresh (or frozen) veggies and fruits. Just do not buy anything commercially made, this way you won’t be tempted! Even when eating in restaurant, I eat whole food as much as I can : no sauce-lean grilled meat and fish, fresh salad without commercially prepared dressing (try olive oil and balsamic if you cannot eat a salad without dressing), grilled veggies pizza with a bit of goat cheese. Instead of high calories, fats and almost absent nutrition other lasagna, stuffed meats, burgers, chicken and meat pies…

  4. These are great tips! We always pack a small bag of healthy snacks when we’re traveling. Especially when flying (like this week) and we know we’re held captive to airport food options, which are usually not the healthiest and definitely more expensive. I’m a huge fan of this healthy travel tip! I’m definitely heading over to your blog to check it out!

  5. It’s kind of wasteful, but if I make something I know I’ll overindulge in, EVEN if I put the leftovers away, I’ll just throw it out. If I make a box mac and cheese for just myself, half of it goes down the garbage disposal before I even sit down to eat. It’s just not worth it!

  6. Great and useful tips! perfect for the beginning of a new year. Gotta go replace my M&M’s now. How come banana’s dont look just as cute as my holiday colored M&M”s???

  7. I love those plates, and I’m totally getting some. Portion control is always my biggest problem! I know what to eat and I know in theory how much of it I should be eating, but I don’t want to measure it out, and I just don’t think to hold up a deck of cards to the pan before I sit down to dinner. I love the idea of a quick and cute solution to help me reach my goals. Thanks for sharing the link and the tips!

  8. Thanks for the great tips Maria. I would like to add one more – stay away from convenience foods – they are loaded with all sorts of mysterious things that pack on the weight.

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