Keeping to reasonable portions is the key to balanced eating. Portion sizes have increased over time, which makes controlling the amount we eat more challenging. Being aware of proper portion sizes can help improve your eating pattern by reducing your overall caloric intake, which may reduce some risk factors that can affect health status. Here are some ideas to help you master the task!
Choose the right plate
- The rim width and rim color of the plate might influence portion size – a larger rim width that contrasts in color to the plate may help you eat less because you will think the portion size is actually larger than it is.
- Select plates that have a color-contrast to your food (for example, pasta with marinara on a white plate) to help you think you have a bigger portion.
- Don’t eat from the bag or box; portion out a serving before you munch or purchase single-serve snacks. Research indicates people may eat 50% less of a snack food if they portion it out first. Check out the serving size on the Nutrition Facts label for guidance.
- Skip the warehouse-club sizing for the snacks that are high in saturated fat, salt, and/or added sugar! Be sure to pre-portion warehouse-club products or look for single-serving items. People eat more when the package size is larger.
- When eating out, split a meal with your company if you can, or when your food arrives, ask for a takeout container before eating and store half of the meal for another day. We may increase our bite size when food portions are bigger.
- Eating slowly can enhance the eating experience and help to reduce the amount you eat.
- Take time to prepare your meal or snack based on your recommended eating pattern – slow down and measure out portions.
- Don’t let yourself get so famished that you gobble down your food, are unaware of the portion sizes you served yourself, or eat so fast you get little pleasure in your eating experience.
- When filling your plate, take less, and reassess how you feel after the first portion. You can always go back for more.
A healthy eating pattern is all about making better choices (quality and quantity). Keep an eye on the wellness prize by becoming an expert in how to fill your plate!