With the growing size of restaurant portions, it’s no wonder that we have a poor handle on what meal proportions should actually look like. If the U.S. were to improve portion sizes more closely aligned with daily caloric goals, daily energy consumed from food among U.S. adults would drop 22 to 29 percent. That’s over 500 extra calories a day we consume just because the size of our food is…well, oversized! Arming yourself with the knowledge of portion sizes and planning ahead can help you succeed in the long run with weight loss efforts.
Know before you go
Planning ahead when you eat out can keep your calorie counts low. Most restaurants offer nutrition facts on their website so you can plan head and not be tempted by larger offerings. Using an app like My Fitness Pal can also help you estimate calorie counts if you don’t have specific numbers.
Learn proper portion sizes
Do you know how large a serving of chicken should be? If you’re only supposed to eat an ounce of cheese, could you eyeball that amount? There are a few tricks that can help you guess portion sizes without having to weigh your food. For instance, chicken, beef or pork portions should be around 3 ounces (most steak places start their serving at 6 ounces!), or about the size of your palm. Here’s a handy guide you can reference to help you learn portion size.
Don’t forget to measure at home
For snacks, consider using sandwich bags to pre-portion foods out into proper serving sizes to avoid overeating. You can also use your smaller plates at dinner to control the size of your meal; the smaller the plate, the less you can fit on it. It also tricks your brain into thinking it’s eating more.
Take your time
Eating more slowly gives your brain time to catch up with your stomach. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to send out the fullness signal, so the slower you eat, the less likely you’ll overeat before you actually feel full.
Drink lots of water
Drinking water before and during your meal can help you moderate the amount of food you’ve eaten. You’ll feel more full in the long run, and do something good for your body at the same time.
Interested in learning more? Our Health Library is filled with videos, healthy recipes, and the latest health information about weight loss and nutrition. Have a question or looking for an appointment related to weight loss or nutrition? Visit our Weight Management and Bariatrics site or call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-227-8478 for questions or to make an appointment.