When you hear “portion control” do you immediately think “diet” or “deprivation”? When you get in the habit of following a healthy meal plan, it doesn’t have to feel like punishment. No matter which meal plan you’re following, portion control is must. Fortunately, watching your portions doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself or spend hours weighing and measuring everything you eat. Registered Dietitian and nutrition expert for TOPS, Dena McDowell, shares her top tips and tricks for making portions simpler than you might think.
- Watch your plate size. When reducing portions, it’s helpful to play a little mind trick: use a small salad or dessert plate instead of a dinner plate. By choosing the smaller plate, you will automatically reduce portion sizes, but your plate will still appear to look full. This visual picture helps your mind feel more satisfied. Give space between each item on the plate to further control portion size.
- Eat your greens, or yellows or oranges. Bottom line: eat your vegetables and lots of them. Aim to fill half your plate with veggies. Eating your veggies first helps you fill up on these low-calorie, high-fiber foods. This simple trick will reduce your portions of foods that are higher in calories and carbohydrates, and increase your feelings of fullness due to the fiber content.
- Check your drink. Calorie-rich beverages can sabotage the best intentions. Be careful to not pick beverages that contain lots of sugar. Best choices are water, tea or low-fat or fat-free milk. If you are drinking milk, aim for no more than eight ounces. Try to drink your beverage earlier in the meal to fill up your stomach. By doing this, you will fill up faster and may reduce your total intake at mealtime.
- Share with a friend. When dining out, save calories by splitting an appetizer or entrée with a friend. If you’re going to treat yourself to dessert, aim to share with your dinner date. Split the portion equally and savor each bite! If possible, choose lower-calorie dessert such as fruit-based tarts or sorbet.
When you’re wise about portion size, you can still enjoy the foods you love without feeling deprived. If you have any go-to portion control tips, share them below!