“I know how to eat well. I just struggle with my portion sizes”. This is probably something you’ve heard or said before, right? Knowing when to stop can be tough when the food is just so good and the leftovers are calling your name. We’ve all been there! Keep on reading to check out eight super simple portion control tips to help find yourself not succumbing to those cheeky ‘just one more’ thoughts!
YOUR GO-TO TOOL… YOUR HANDS!
Your hands have to be the most accessible tool available to measure your portions of carbs, protein, veg, and fats, don’t you think? But, what do we mean?
Here is a round-up letting you in on how you can super simply know just how much you should be eating:
- Use your palm to determine your protein portion.
- Use your cupped hand to determine your carb portion.
- Use your fist to determine your veggie portion.
- Use your thumb to determine your fat portion.
You can check out a more in-depth look into this tip by clicking here!
Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day should be a constant, right? We ALWAYS encourage drinking 1.5 – 2 litres each day. But when it comes to keeping yourself fuller quicker and for longer, water can be your best friend. Consuming a nice, big glass of water 30 minutes before you eat can aid in your digestion and can also help in suppressing your appetite, with water often creating a ‘full’ feeling in your stomach.
Often when you feel peckish, you might actually just be dehydrated. So in this instance, simply have a large glass of water and do something to distract yourself for 30 minutes. If after that time you are still feeling your stomach gurgle, then you really do need some food!
BULK UP WITH VEG
One of the best fillers for any meal is good old veg! It doesn’t matter whether it is a big breaky, a superfood salad, or a delicious stir fry, veg can easily bulk up a meal and keep you satisfied, without the increased calories that bulking up a meal with carbs does.
For pasta, curries, and stir-fries, vegetables like zoodles and cauliflower rice have taken off in the health world to act in as the ‘carb’ alternative base to these classic and delicious meals.
SMALLER PLATES ARE YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND
Eyeballing your portion sizes can often be hard when you are using large plates or bowls. You might not actually feel like a complete plate full, but just because it is a certain size, it should be filled to the brim, right? Wrong! Try using smaller plates or bowls when serving up your meals. This practically means you will eat less, as well as doing this also demonstrating a psychological effect to help you eat less.
Of course, there is also the age-old, very well known ‘healthy plate’ which helps to split up the plate into certain percentages of the different food groups. Here are the general rules:
- 40% vegetables
- 25% lean protein
- 25% fibre-rich carbohydrates
Don’t forget to include healthy fats such as avocado and extra virgin olive oil, too! This should generally be no more than 10%.
MAKE CARBS THE CHERRY ON TOP
When putting a meal together, instead of making the carbs the predominant part of the meal, think of them as the extra add-ons on top. Generally, your carbs should make up just 25% of your meal, as mentioned in the point above in regards to carbs taking up just a quarter of your plate.
You could do this by putting your meat and vegetables of your meal into your bowl first, then top with rice, which will encourage less of the carbs and more of the protein and veg. Or you could even do this with your breakfast granola and yoghurt, by filling your bowl with the fruit and yoghurt first, topping it with the nuts and granola lastly, with these components being the higher calorie parts.
TAKE IT SLOOOW…
Chowing down on your meal can do one of two things – with either one not having the most ideal outcome when it comes to portion control! This will either not give your body time to actually process and let your brain know it’s full, with it taking 20 minutes for this signal to reach your brain, or it will cause you to feel pretty sick, pretty quick… depending on what you are eating.
To ensure your body is absorbing as much of the nutrients from the delicious meals you are eating as possible… take your time! Chewing slowly and enjoying the flavours instead of consuming it like it is about to be taken off you will do you a world of good. Limiting your distractions can help with this. Try not to eat infront of your desk or the TV, as tempting as it might be. You will most likely enjoy your food more and feel much more satisfied!
CONSUME ‘EFFORT REQUIRED’ SNACKS
Sometimes a snack is needed on the run that requires no effort – you simply grab it from your bag or your desk draw and eat it quick smart. But if you do have time, a tip that can really help in slowing down your eating and assisting you in eating less is choosing snacks that require ‘work’.
But isn’t that the point of snacks? They are easy and don’t require much work. We’re talking foods that require peeling or unshelling, like mandarins and nuts!
PUT THE PACKET AWAY!
It’s as simple as it sounds! When you feel that snacky feeling coming on and you’re craving those corn chips, don’t pull out the whole packet. Grab yourself a small bowl, pop a handful in the bowl and leave it at that. If the packet is sitting there open, that temptation doesn’t go away until you really gain some good old self-control or the packet is empty.
Another tip is to split up packets of food into servings. Delicious and nutritious snacks like nuts, for example, are ‘healthy’, but also particularly calorie-dense. Splitting the packet up into individual servings can act as a great visual cue, as well as allowing you to know what you are actually consuming very easily.