Be honest, do you look at what a serving size is when you’re looking at nutritional facts? If you do, awesome, do you know what that looks like? If not, you need to start right now or you’re going to have a hard time shedding weight or staying fit.
It’s easy to over eat, trust me – I know. Especially when going out to a restaurant where you can get an appetizer or bread for the table, the plates are usually very big, and they try to persuade you with dessert. You can be putting food in your mouth pretty much the entire time you’re out if you want. In America especially we see portions that would feed two or three people with ease. Some Americans demand this, they think they need to leave “full.”
How big are your plates? What about the bowls? I won’t lie, we have stupidly large bowls in my house and the dinner plates are ridiculously large. So when serving dinner, it’s very easy to just put food on the plate and consider it done. I have only recently started using a smaller bowl. I know what serving sizes look like but some nights when I feel hungry, with my giant plates it’s easy to get too much because I’m hungry.
When I started really being careful about my food intake I started measuring ingredients to see what a cup of beans really looked like. What is a teaspoon? How much is half a cup of rice really? For cereal (be careful with cereals) what does twenty nine pieces look like in my bowl? All of these silly little things will help you judge what a normal intake is, even when you’re not using a scale or measuring everything you eat.
- Drink a large glass of water before dinner. It’s such a common tip but seriously, try it. It will help you not to over eat. It works for me at least.
- Only get what you think you really need. Make it look light. Think about what a real serving size would be.
- Eat slowly and enjoy the food or the evening. Too many Americans eat quickly just to eat. This makes it even easier to eat too much because you’re just eating to feel “full.” If you enjoy the food, eat slowly, drink in between bites, talk, etc. you will find yourself feeling finished without the nasty “full” feeling.
- Get smaller plates and bowls! Seems silly but it works, it’s very easy to get too much when a normal portion looks like a single bite when you’re using a plate made for monsters.
- Try to avoid TV and dinner, or control it. My wife and I eat in front of the TV, we also sometimes sit at the table and just talk. The key though I found personally is to not base what you’re watching with your food intake. If we’re watching an hour long series, it’s easy to feel the need to keep eating while the show is on. We all do it. I found watching a shorter show is better or controlling yourself and putting your plate away when you’re done, not continuing to nibble or get seconds or thirds.
Hopefully this helps a little get your mind working in terms of portions. The five tips above help me eat only what I need. So many of us want to feel “full” but it’s not that good of a feeling. I like to leave dinner and feel like I’m not about to explode or that if I went for a jog I’d throw everything up.
What do you all do to help control how much you eat or limit portions? Do any of you use a food scale?