When it comes to considerations about one’s diet and daily food intake, Americans demonstrate repeatedly, that they are as unconcerned about the portions that they eat at meal time as they are about “what” they eat at meal time. These two factors are high up there when it comes to analyzing causes for obesity.
With a little forethought and some proper and efficient planning, anyone can get a better handle on their portions without feeling deprived. This will help immeasurably for anyone who is trying to lose weight, control their weight, and those who have high blood pressure, high triglycerides or diabetes.
Here are some suggestions as to what one can do easily to control their portions and to avoid over eating.
*START THE DAY WITH A GOOD BREAKFAST –
Starting the day with a good, nutritionally sound breakfast is the ideal way to start the day. A good healthy breakfast will provide one with the energy they need to start the day and lessen the likelihood that by mid morning, starvation sets in and one runs for the nearest donut or sweet roll.
*PLAN MEALS AHEAD OF TIME –
By taking the time to plan meals ahead of time, one won’t find themselves wondering what to have at meal time, and running for the fastest and easiest thing that’s available. Knowing what a meal will be well in advance will also make for more efficient and effective grocery shopping because it will be less tempting to reach for whatever is quick and tasty. Rather than going out for a fast food lunch, consider planning lunches for the week and packing them at home the night before.
*DIVIDE THE PLATE INTO FOURTHS –
By dividing the plate into fourths, one limits the available space for different parts of the meal. Take half of the plate and use that for vegetables. That can be a two vegetable servings, or salad, which can take up half the plate because that would be the equivalent of two or more vegetable servings. It is also an ideal way to increase one’s intake of fruits and vegetables.
In one of the one quarter portions of the other size of the plate, one would put their meat, fish or poultry serving. The serving should be about the size of a playing card, or the palm of one’s hand. In the other fourth of the plate, one can put a starch such as a potato, rice or pasta.
By restricting the way food is placed on the plate, one is providing themselves a built in safety feature that will be helpful in curtailing the urge to over eat. There are actual portion control plates that one can purchase.
*USE THE PALM OF YOUR HAND –
Nutrition professionals will often recommend that anyone who is trying to control their portion size or who is unfamiliar with what is considered an appropriate serving should use the palm of their hand as a gauge. If you are having a piece of chicken, the serving should be no larger than the size of the palm of your hand. The same would apply to any other meats, fish or vegetables.
*EAT AT REGULAR INTERVALS –
When one eats at regular intervals, it is easier for the body to adjust it’s hunger sensor. Too often, people get tied up in work, family obligations, activities, or other things. When time becomes a big factor and one is under pressure to be on the go all the time, it’s easy to forget to take the time to eat. The result is that at some point after things settle down a bit, one is so ravenous that they will eat whatever is around, without giving a second thought to what they are eating.
*EAT SNACKS IF YOU ARE HUNGRY –
This may go against what most people think is good diet sense, however, because most people rarely, if ever get enough fruit and vegetable servings into their daily diet, scheduling snacks at which you eat a fruit or vegetable serving is a good way to get that and at the same time, provide yourself with a low calorie and nutritionally healthy snack. A good snack might be a sliced apple and two tablespoons of peanut butter. That snack would consume roughly 220 calories. Make sure to use peanut butter that has nothing but peanuts and salt in it.
*DRINK PLENTY OF WATER –
By drinking a lot of water, one will get full faster and stay ful for longer. Not only that, it’s a good way to ensure that you are getting your full 8 to 10 glasses of water in a day. It is also a way by which to prevent oneself for reaching for snacks and other junk food that is full of empty calories.
*EAT PLENTY OF FIBER –
Fiber is another thing that helps one feel fuller. Fiber is also full of important nutrients. The more fiber one can incorporate into their meals, the more likely it is that they will meat, if not exceed, the amount of fiber recommended for each day. Fiber can come from fruits and vegetable or whole grain products such as brown rice, whole grain pastas or whole grain breads.
*CONSIDER EATING SEVERAL SMALL MEALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY –
Eating several smaller meals throughout the day is an ideal way to control portions and one’s over all food intake in a day. By eating small portions more often, one is ensuring that they don’t go for so long without food that the next time they do eat, they are so ravenous that they won’t think about what they are eating.
These are just a few suggestions as to ways by which people can learn to control their portion sizes at meal time. It will take time to adapt to these changes, especially when for some people, these changes will feel like a 360 degree turn. Trying to make drastic changes all at once may work for a few highly motivated people, but by and large, that sort of approach is much more likely to backfire. Considering the calorie count of what one eats, along with the amount of fiber in a serving, but all of these suggestions can help one learn to gain better control over the portion size of anything they eat at mealtime.