Get More Bang for Your Bite: 10 Portion Control Tips

Eating less and staying full is easier than you think. 

Posted: 05/21/2013 07:00 AM EDT

Super-sized portions might give you more bang for your buck, but they’re also giving you more diabetes, obesity and other weight-related troubles. “Portion distortion is a huge part of our obesity crisis,” says Michelle Stewart, a registered dietitian. “Portion control is the key to energy balance—calories in versus calories out.”

Overeating can sabotage the exercise efforts of even the most active among us, keeping the scale on “heavy.” Try these 10 tips to keep your portions—and your weight—in control.

—Measure. “Read your labels and use that as a guide,” says Stewart. She recommends buying measuring cups and a food scale for home. “When you’re out, use your hand. A fist is a cup, your cupped hand is 1/2 cup, the palm of your hand is approximately 3 ounces of protein, the tip of your thumb is a tablespoon and the tip of your pinky is a teaspoon.”

Watch the snacks. Snacks, even healthy ones, can raise your calorie count and make you go over your limit for the day.

—Use the small plates. Smaller plates and bowls help put portion sizes in perspective. Filling a smaller space helps keep you from feeling like you’re missing something. This might not sound like it works, but it does. One study found participants eating from larger bowls ate 30 percent more than those who used a smaller bowl, but large-bowl people didn’t think they ate more than the small-bowl folks.

—Stop grazing. Don’t taste test while you’re cooking and stop polishing off your child’s leftovers. This adds calories. Eat for nutrients your body needs, not simply because the food is there.

—Hydrate. Don’t mistake thirst for hunger, a common mistake. In addition, a glass of water before meals helps give you a sense of fullness.

Read more portion control tips at BlackHealthMatters.Com.

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