10 Tips For Perfect Portion Control!

Finding ways to cut calories while continuing to eat the foods you enjoy is not as hard as you think. Learn how to size up servings and avoid over-eating with these top tips!

1. Power Of The Smaller Plate

Studies have shown that eating from a smaller plate tricks your brain into thinking you have a bigger meal to consume. A bigger plate will allow us to eat more; and we can easily underestimate the calories in our over sized portions.

So it makes sense to save your larger dinner plates for special occasions and serve your regular meals on a salad or side plate instead.

The same principal can be applied when consuming beverages. Choose a tall, slender glass instead of a short, wide one. Making this a habit will condition your mind and body to accept smaller servings at every meal.

2. Slow Down!

It is a known fact that it can take your body up to 20 minutes to register that you had enough to eat. Rushing down your meal will only have you reaching for that second helping in no time. Take smaller bites and chew every mouthful at least five or six times before swallowing; and wait until your mouth is empty before you take another bite.

Scheduling your meals will also ensure that you have more time to finish them. Also try to avoid unnecessary distractions like watching TV, or having your meal "on the run". It will disconnect you from your body's signals and cause you to over eat.

Eating slowly also improves your digestive system as your stomach will have more time to properly digest the food. Make an effort to sit down at a table while eating, and chew slowly, focusing on the flavors and textures of the food.

3. Smaller Meals

Eating a number of evenly spaced, nutritionally balanced meals every day will promote a slimmer and healthier physique while keeping you energized, metabolically active and regulating your blood sugar.

Every time you ingest a meal, your body burns energy in order to process the food eaten. Eating regular, small meals will keep your metabolism elevated throughout the day, giving you an energy boost. This will in turn enable you to burn more calories.

Although eating regular meals will require more planning and discipline, it will spread your calories more evenly throughout the day and you will eliminate cravings. Also, when you know your next meal is just a few hours away, it might help you to control those cravings and wait for your next planned meal.

Eating Regular, Small Meals Will Keep Your Metabolism Elevated Throughout The Day.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Eating Regular, Small Meals Will Keep
Your Metabolism Elevated Throughout The Day.

4. Drink Up

Consuming plenty of water and herbal tea will help keep you satisfied throughout the day. Staying hydrated will prevent you from eating when you are not actually hungry, since hunger is very easily confused with thirst.

Water is one of the few things you can indulge in as much as you want without any negative effect, so it's essential to always keep adequate water on hand. You will prevent dehydration, keep your energy levels up and help keep your hunger at bay.

5. Accurate Portion Sizes

How can you get an accurate portion size for your meals? In short, every meal should contain protein and low GI carbohydrates. It's a great idea to invest in a scale and measuring cup for weighing food portion sized and help correctly assess how much you are eating.

Whole grains, pulses and non-starchy vegetables are all great low GI carbohydrate options. Keep in mind that the serving size of cooked pasta or oatmeal is equivalent to half a cup and a slice of whole wheat bread equals one serving.

The recommended serving size for raw, leafy vegetables is 2 cups and 1 cup for raw, chopped vegetables. Half a cup is the serving size for chopped, cooked or canned vegetables.

Also remember to consume a healthy dose of good fat. This can include a daily dose of unsaturated oil, or three portions of salmon per week. Also keep in mind that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize that your stomach is full, so be careful not to over eat. Consume your meal as planned and you will find that you feel satisfied.

Consume Your Meal As Planned And You Will Find You Feel Satisfied.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Consume Your Meal As Planned And
You Will Find You Feel Satisfied.

6. Increase Your Intake Of Soups And Salads

Filling up on lightly dressed salads or a bowl of vegetables or low-fat chicken soup before main meals is an effective way to keep you from overeating. The fiber in the vegetables will help to curb your appetite and leave you feeling satisfied sooner.

Another benefit of fiber is the slower transport of food through your digestive system. Foods that are high in fiber are often very low in calories, so it's the perfect choice for any dieter.

Try combining a salad as a starter and a nourishing soup as your main meal. You can also fill half of your plate with low carbohydrate vegetables and greens at dinner. Great options include broccoli, beans, spinach and tomatoes. You will feel great.

7. Have Your Treats

We all have foods that are simply too irresistible to avoid. Whatever your temptation, it's very important for you to occasionally treat yourself. If you follow your diet perfectly all of the time, your body will soon get used to the caloric intake and thus lowers its metabolism.

However, although it's a good idea to implement a cheat meal, try to limit this to once a week. These days there are a lot of products that come in bite-sizes, so it's best to indulge in one of these small servings when needed. Rewarding yourself with a treat once in a while will keep you on track, stay motivated and help manage those uncontrollable cravings.

It's Very Important For You To Occasionally Treat Yourself.
+ Click To Enlarge.
It's Very Important For You
To Occasionally Treat Yourself.

8. Eat Smart When Dining Out

Eating at a restaurant does not mean you should consume the largest portion available. Many restaurants post their menu online, so you can easily choose your meals in advance, before you are faced with the temptation. You can also opt to share a meal with your dining partner, or try ordering a starter meal as your main meal.

You can also order a half portion or a children's portion. A lot of restaurants will be happy to cater for your dietary needs, so don't hesitate to request a meal on the menu to be prepared in a more diet-friendly way, or for sauces and dressings to be served separately.

Although not all restaurants will charge less for half portions, your waistline will thank you later. Another way of ensuring you stick to your portions is to avoid the buffet. The wide variety of foods available and the fact that you can eat as much as you want will be much harder to resist!

9. Get Enough Sleep

Have you ever noticed how you tend to eat more when you are tired? We use food—especially carbohydrates—to deal with energy slumps and while you might get a quick burst of energy, this will soon fade. Being well rested will keep that "afternoon slump" at bay and keep you away from temptation.

Studies also indicate that fatigue stimulates the production of the hunger inducing hormone, Ghrelin, in the human body and that people who sleep 7 to 9 hours per night are 50% less likely to be unhealthily overweight than those who only gets 5 hours per night.

If you tend to eat when you are not hungry, try doing something to distract you from the temptation to eat. You will find that taking just a brief 15 minute walk will eliminate your cravings and you will likely not be hungry anymore. So when hunger strikes, take a walk, call a friend or even go for a workout!

What Is Ghrelin?

Ghrelin is a hormone produced mainly by P/D1 cells lining the fundus of the human stomach and epsilon cells of the pancreas that stimulates hunger. Ghrelin levels increase before meals and decrease after meals. It is considered the counterpart of the hormone leptin, produced by adipose tissue, which induces satiation when present at higher levels. In some bariatric procedures, the level of ghrelin is reduced in patients, thus causing satiation before it would normally occur.

10. Keep A Dining Diary

Use a food diary. Writing down when, what, where and why you eat will make you aware of the foods you consume and the amount. This will help you to identify the times you eat too much and why, so that you can adjust your diet accordingly.

You can also rotate your food schedules each week to break up the monotony. Using a food diary will make you feel accountable; a lot of weight loss programs require participants to hand in a food diary once a week. This may make you think twice before giving in to those cravings.

Portion control takes dedication and perseverance, but you can easily control your portion sizes by listening to your body and making changes before it becomes a bad habit. Incorporate these tips into your lifestyle and you will soon begin to see the changes in your body and your health!