portion control diet

One of the most common misconceptions about losing weight is that you must give up all of your favorite foods and snacks for good. Fortunately, this is nowhere near the truth. The trick to shedding those extra pounds is as simple as moderating the volume of food you consume, also known as portion control.

Understanding portion control is extremely important; most people have no idea how much of a certain food they should really be eating. Here are a few foods that benefit from moderation:

If you tend to overeat at home, you can learn to control your portion sizes with a little help from your dinnerware. Start by selecting the smallest plates, cups and bowls in your cabinets, then measure exactly how much each one holds (usually in ounces). Next, compare those amounts to the recommended portion sizes for your favorite foods. It’s not uncommon to discover that your ‘guestimates’ are way off-base, leading you to pile up even more on your plate than you really intended to. When serving food, you should stick with those smaller plates and bowls; the food will take up more of the plate and you will feel as if you are eating more.

Top nutritionists recommend preparing meals in bulk, then portioning out the dish and storing for later consumption. For example, you might take a few minutes to divide the entire box of cereal into single serving Ziploc bags (you’ll find the recommended serving size on the nutritional label). This makes it easier for you to eat only what is needed without overdoing it. It can also save you time–just grab a bag and get started! This trick works with many different types foods, including chips, uncooked pasta and rice. If you’re counting calories, just remember to label at least one of the bags with the complete nutritional info.

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Restaurants are notorious for loading up your plate with way too much food. Some of the most popular chains have been known to multiply the suggested serving amount by three or four times the amount recommended! Your best bet is to request a to-go container to be brought out when your meal is served. Immediately transfer at least half of each entree and side to the container. It will make a delicious treat at work the next day. The exception, of course, is any vegetable side–steamed or sauteed. Feel free to eat those veggies right away!

Some dedicated dieters swear by a food scale, which helps them to weigh out only a certain amount of a food. For others, this isn’t exactly practical. Instead, learn to identify the proper portion size by comparing different foods to an object or objects of a familiar size. For example, 1 teaspoonful of butter or margarine is roughly the same size as a die. A baked potato should measure up to a regular computer mouse. Thirty grams of chocolate is about the size of a container of dental floss.

Losing weight isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be an exercise in deprivation. You can still partake in your favorite foods–within reason–without going overboard. Once you’ve learned about portion sizes, you will be better prepared to avoid overeating either at home or at a restaurant. Why not start today? Other than the weight, what do you have to lose?


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