11 Ways to Reign in Your Portion Sizes

Forget counting calories, that is so old school. We now know that kilojoules are not created equal, and eating a strict number of calories doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a healthier leaner body nor a nutritious diet.  So instead, let’s focus on something else that takes a lot less effort plus it’ll reframe the way you approach what you eat.

By focussing on your portion sizes, you’ll be surprised at how a simple and effective a non-diet modification can be.

If you have a bit (or a lot) of portion distortion going on are you aware of it? And what are the right portions anyways, I hear you say?

Well for starters it comes down to habits, which were more than likely formed during our childhood when we were told to ‘eat everything on our plate”. We relied on our parents to dictate our appetite often with bribery of dessert on the side. It was like a loaded dice. Eat more now so you can eat more later… we lost our internal cues of hunger along the way.

External factors are also at work with bigger servings meaning better value for money when eating out. “Wow, what a bargain .. all these hot chips for $2!”. “Great, refillable soft drink for $4” Sound familiar?

So what are the guidelines to follow for portion sizes? 

Serving sizes on food labels is not telling you the amount you should be eating. The serving size is a guide to help you see how many calories and nutrients — as well as how much fat, sugar, and salt — are in a specific quantity of that food. (source)  A portion size, on the other hand, is the amount of food you eat in one sitting, regardless of how much your body actually needs. See the difference?

Here’s an example

portion sizes

 It’s more an understanding of how much food our bodies need as opposed to how much it wants.

Portion Control Tips

portion illusion

  1. Practice mindful eating. (slowly, chewing, taking breaths etc)
  2. Serve food on smaller plates so meals look larger. See the example I prepared earlier 😉
  3. Try single-serving sizes to help your family learn what an appropriate portion is.
  4. Maintain a steady supply of energy with balanced meals so you’re not tempted to overeat.
  5. Dish out portions to a bowl rather than taking a whole packet of something. Morish means morish!
  6. Fill up on salads and vegetables this adds bulk to your meal and can trick us into thinking we are eating a lot.
  7. Try sharing meals at restaurants or ordering appetisers as mains, then you won’t be tempted to get your monies worth!
  8. Separate large cook-ups or bulk buys straight away and store them accordingly. That way, you won’t be tempted to over-serve yourself.
  9. Don’t be fooled into thinking there is better value in a larger smoothie or muffin. Be happy with a smaller version, it’s really not worth it.
  10. Dish out meals at the counter and avoid bringing the whole pot to the table. Not keeping the food at arm’s length can make your family think twice about reaching for seconds. If they do want seconds, offer more veggies or salads.
  11. Allow children to dictate (to an extent) how much they eat. We fill up faster on nutrient-dense foods as opposed to empty sugar-laden calories.  A great way to help teach kids is with the help of a portion control plate.

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