Archive for the tag - portion control

How to Use Portion Control.

We know that when it comes to portions, size matters. It’s easy to talk about portion control tips, like taking just a few bites of dessert or eating off of smaller dinner plates – but applying that advice is another thing altogether.

Most mornings, my breakfast includes a bowl of cereal. I reach for whatever bowl is available, and then add my cereal and milk. I have two different size bowls: one is 6 inches and the other is 8 inches.

Today, I wondered if my cereal is subject to the large plate theory. The theory goes something like this:

  1. Portions look smaller on larger plates, so…
  2. We put more food on larger plates, so…
  3. We end up eating a greater quantity of food.

The takeaway is that by opting for a smaller plate, we will consume less food. Simple enough.

To test it out, I added my typical serving size of cereal to both the 6-inch and 8-inch bowls. To be honest, the amounts looked fairly similar. But then I took out my measuring cup. As it turns out, I put an extra 3/4 of a cup of cereal (equivalent to 150 calories – or roughly 12 minutes on the treadmill) in the 8-inch bowl. My larger bowl contained a 33% larger portion of cereal.

For me, there are a two morals of the story. First, the large plate theory is very much true. Second, it’s critically important to apply abstract advice and tips to concrete instances in each of our lives. Reading tips is one thing. Living them is another. ๐Ÿ™‚

10 Tips: When it Comes to Portions, Size Matters!

When it comes to portion control, size definitely matters.

It’s no secret that weight release is the most common New Year’s resolution, but taking advantage of portion control is one of the best tactics to employ.

There’s a difference between portions (what’s on our plate) and servings (what’s recommended), and most of us are getting way too much of some things… and not nearly enough of others.

Here are few tips to help you ring in 2011:

  1. Opt for smaller plates. We tend to fill our plates to their capacity, and by using a smaller plate – you’re likely to put less food on it. It’s a simple trick that works wonders at buffets or holiday parties. And in your own house, use 8 or 10-inch dinner plates instead of 12 inch. {Insert inappropriate innuendo here.}
  2. When saving leftovers, freeze food in individual portions. When you reheat the food – you’ll only be defrosting what you need, and thus less likely to overeat.
  3. Just take a few bites. I’m officially obsessed with nibnobs. I love cake – but it’s obviously terribly unhealthy. A slice of red velvet cake, for example, can have 550 calories and 27 grams of

    Perfectly portioned nibnobs.

    fat. Recognizing the importance of portions, nibnobs are bite-sized desserts… and they are totally satisfying, even for the sweetest of sweet tooths. I’m even bringing a plate to my parents’ house for New Year’s day.

  4. Divide your plate in half. Fill one half with veggies and/or fruits. Fill the other half with a mix of proteins (like meat), and starches (like rice, potatoes, etc.).
  5. Buy individually portioned snack foods. Instead of buying a huge bag of chips, buy smaller bags. It will prevent mindless munching. If you’re looking to be economical, buy larger bags of food but divide portions up in baggies. Never eat directly from a big bag!
  6. Keep junk foods out of sight. Office workers who kept candy in clear dishes on their desks dipped in for a sample 71 percent more often than those who kept their candy out of sight. But keep healthy foods, like veggies (carrot sticks!) and fruits readily available. A fruit basket on your kitchen table can work wonders.
  7. Don’t mix food and TV. You wouldn’t drink and drive and neither should you eat food and watch TV. It’s much harder to watch portions while zoning out in a good television show.
  8. Use visual cues to estimated recommend servings. A deck of playing cards = one serving (three ounces) of meat, poultry, or fish. Half a baseball = one serving (one-half cup) of fruit, vegetables, pasta, or rice. Your thumb = one serving (one ounce) of cheese. A small hand holding a tennis ball = one serving (one cup) of yogurt or chopped fresh greens.
  9. Split desserts at restaurants. It cuts calories and builds relationships!
  10. Ask for dressings, spreads and sauces on the side. Most restaurants are far too generous in their condiment portions.

Obviously, portion control isn’t the be all and end all of weight release; it’s just one tool of many, but it can be a super helpful and effective dimension of a bigger plan.

What portion control tips do you have? Share them in the comments below!