Most smart dieters believe there are two key components to losing weight and keeping it off: Diet and exercise. Of the two, diet will play a more integral role in weight loss. However, diet isn’t just about what you eat, it’s about how much you eat, too!
Portion control can be challenging if you aren’t used to measuring what you eat, or are confused as to what are typical portions of some of even the healthiest foods. Below, we outline 8 simple tips you can use to give yourself better portion control, even if you’ve never attempted to do so before.
1. Measure everything
You might think that it’s easy to eyeball a portion size, but it usually isn’t! Before you know it, you might have eaten two or three servings of even a healthy snack, which is too many calories for what you probably need when you’re trying to lose weight.
Invest in measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a food scale. A food scale is especially important for measuring protein serving sizes, and can be more accurate than other methods. You may even want to pre-measure snack portions when you open a larger container or bag of something. That way, you can grab food and go, without having to measure every time (or finding an excuse not to measure).
2. Invest in portion control plates
Measuring is one thing, but your dishes are another! For the sake of argument, let’s assume you don’t measure everything – after all, no dieter is perfect! But what happens when you go to eat and don’t measure? If you have large bowls, plates, and cups, you’re probably going to overeat.
Knowing how much each plate, bowl, or other dish holds is essential to becoming even slightly skilled at guessing how much you’re eating if you aren’t going to measure. Thus, while a scale or measuring cups are best, investing in smaller dishes can also help you keep portions in check.
3. Never eat from a container with more than one serving
When you eat out at a restaurant, or even when you open a bag of something at home, chances are there are two, three, or even more servings there. Unfortunately, few people think about this and just consider all of the food in front of them, especially if it seems like it should be a single serving, to be a single serving.
The best way to approach this portion control-related problem is to find a solution before it begins. For example, always read food labels to figure out how many servings are in a package before you dig in. At a restaurant, ask the server to put away half of your meal in a takeaway container before it’s served. These simple tips will prevent you from overeating by removing the food that’s in front of you.
4. Just add vegetables
Portion control typically means you eat less, which will inevitably leave you feeling hungry. And if you feel hungry, you may not overeat at meals, but you will eat more, which can compromise your diet.
A simple solution for this problem is to add more vegetables to your meals. A great example of a low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetable is spinach. You can eat it on sandwiches, mixed into salads, or even in stir fries or pasta! Other simple substitutions include mushrooms in place of more meat in your main dishes. Or you can add fruit to oatmeal. The possibilities are endless, and make it simple to bulk up your meals without loading on the calories.
5. Change the way you eat
Sometimes, during everyday meals, eating feels like a race. But should it?
You can create an atmosphere that encourages slower eating by dimming the lights and turning on music. And while you’re at it, turn off the television and put down your phone! By creating a calm, enjoyable atmosphere, it will feel nice to eat more slowly. Moreover, you should put down your fork or spoon between bites, and drink water. Doing so will help you realize when you’re getting full, which can help further decrease portion sizes and potential overeating.
6. Don’t skip meals
Skipping a meal might seem like the ultimate portion control, but it isn’t. In fact, skipping meals will only cause you to become more hungry as the day goes on, increasing the likelihood that you’ll overeat.
You should eat at least three times a day, and should ideally be eating regular, healthy snacks in between meals as well. Doing so will keep hunger at bay, rev up your metabolism, and sustain energy.
7. Understand portions v. servings
Serving sizes are indicated on food labels and tell you how many servings are in a bag. For example, even a small bag of your favorite snack might have more than one serving.
You should follow serving sizes for most foods. After all, a serving will typically come in at the target macronutrients for a meal. And if you track your calories throughout the day, it’ll be that much easier to lose weight.
8. Drink more water
Did you know that it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger? It can be, but there are other benefits to drinking water, too!
Water makes you less likely to overeat because it takes up space in your stomach. Dehydration can also cause hunger-like symptoms, so it’s almost always best to drink up before you reach for food.
Take control of your portion sizes and lose weight!
Whether you’re already trying to watch your portion sizes and aren’t sure of the best way to do so or are new to a healthier lifestyle and want tips on how to get started, the 8 tips above are a great way to begin or continue your weight loss regimen!
If you need additional support as you get started – as even the smartest dieters do – PhenQ can help. PhenQ is an appetite suppressant, making it easy to eat less, and works as it burns fat, boosts energy, and otherwise supports your healthy habits.