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Healthy Eating: The importance of portion control

Updated on May 10, 2013

Are you eating the right portion?

Portion control or serving size, which is which. Most people think of a portion as what is on the plate, in the bowl, or in the cup. Lets look at an example of what a serving size vs portion size of a glass of milk is. On the milk container I have in my home says that a serving size is 1 cup or 8 ounces and 130 calories. The cup I would use to fill that in my home is 12 ounces and I would normally fill it most of the way up, maybe 11 ounces. That is almost one and a half of the recommended serving size for a total of about 200 calories.

If your goal is to lose weight then you should take note as to what the portion sizes are that you are eating and what the recommendations are. Generally it is a useful measure to say that you use about 15 times your weight in calories so if you were 200 lbs that would mean that you would need 3000 calories to just to live.

What is the right portion?

Every food item is required to have its nutritional facts listed on its label. Reading that is very important if you want to watch your calorie intake as well as other facts that can affect your health like sodium, fat and sugars. Not to get side tracked on other topics the top of the label describes the serving size, calories per. serving, and servings per container. If the container says a serving size is 8 ounces that is what should be considered a portion in the mind set of portion control.

A lean piece of skinless boneless chicken or fish is about 3-6 ounces and no larger than a deck of cards. Lean red meat is also the same but experts say white meat is a better alternative. Generally eating at restaurants you should eat about half of what is served especially when the meal is high in calories. A good guide is not to eat until you are full, eat until you are not hungry.

When you ad exercise into the equation you will bun more calories each day. Making the equation simple burn more calories than you take in = lose weight!

Tips to reduce portions

  1. The number one tip is to eat regularly 5 times a day. Eating on a regular schedule will help prevent those cravings for high calorie snacks or overeating at meal times.
  2. While watching tv and you want a snack put it in a small bowl rather than eating right from the container.
  3. When eating meals place the food on your plate and keep the leftovers off the table. Out of sight out of mind.
  4. Ask for a to-go box as soon as your meal arrives at a restaurant and put half of the meal away for later.
  5. When eating out try a small appetizer rather than a full entrée.
  6. Drink a glass of water before eating.
  7. Before going back for seconds wait 15-20 minutes, your stomach takes that amount of time to produce the hormones to tell your brain you are full.

Other tips to reduce caloric intake:

  • Switch from a candy dish to a fruit bowl
  • If you cant get rid of the cookies, crackers, chips, put them in hard to see places so they are not easily seen or reachable.
  • Larger packages are signs of our larger appetites. Separate large containers into smaller more serving-sized packages


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