By Lauren Denos: 10/27/2014 (Nutrition)

Portion control is simply being aware of how much you are eating, what you are eating, and making a conscious decision to control the amount. Everyone is supposed to get all of the food groups in what they eat, and portion control can help you know how much of each food group you are consuming at a meal or snack. It’s also a great way to get a handle on your healthy eating habits and achieve the health you want. When dealing with portion control, measuring is the most accurate way to keep track; however, the following method is what is most often used and doesn’t take any extra time.

To begin, put a fist-sized amount or less of a healthy carb. Add an open palm-sized, or more depending on your body type, of a lean protein. Follow it with at least a cup of vegetables on your plate. Now, there are much more sophisticated ways of precise portion control, but many of us will not take the time to measure things to the extreme. If you are going into fitness competitions, then measuring may be paramount. However for most average people, we just need to have a general idea on portions so that we can have a healthy lifestyle. Many people are not going to be able to do exactly what they are supposed to do once they are told they have to measure everything. Particularly when things fall apart - so why worry about it? Just knowing the basics of portion control will be enough to keep your stress level low.

For some people, portion control can be one of the best options. Some are reluctant to give up their unhealthy way of eating, and while the best option is to watch the type of foods you are eating, they chose not to do it. Portion control, then, is a method that should be learned.

Do not leave extras on the table when you are focusing on reducing/controlling your portions. Examples of this would be chips and salsa, and a bread basket with butter. It is far too easy to mindlessly reach for more of these extras and forget that it also counts towards your portion-controlled meal. Bowls of candy laying around the house is another healthy routine killer. I have had clients that did so well with their eating until they went by their coworker’s desk which had a filled candy jar on it. Too tempting – out goes healthy eating!!

Portions, when eating out at restaurants, can be challenging since food is served in large quantities. The way to regain control is to start with a garden salad – order the dressing on the side. Then, when you get your food, box up half of it right away! Before your first bite. This way, you are sticking with a portion control and not doing a crazy-free-for-all that makes you feel guilty afterward.

If you are snacking, put the amount you are going to eat in a bowl or on a plate. DO NOT take the whole bag of chips with you into watch TV. There will be no chips left by the end of the show. Instead, an even better option would be to find a healthier snack. For example, veggies. Not only is this better for you, but you’re also doing something good for your body.

One of the things that will kill your willpower when it comes to portion control is when you let yourself get too hungry. Make sure you eat small meals throughout the day, or snack between your normal meals. Another good option is to drink a big glass of water right before you eat so that your stomach is not empty, as long as you have no digestion issues.

Buy yourself to-go containers that are made for portion control. These containers, also called Tupperware, can be found at the store with divided sections in them. With these, you can load up the big section with veggies, and then each of the small sections with your healthy carbs and protein.

Eat your veggies first! This is more than just a portion control tip; this is an eating-healthy-in-general tip. When you eat your big serving of veggies first, it takes up some of the space in your stomach, and filling it with low calorie foods. This way, you may wind up eating less of anything and everything else.

Remember what you drink counts, too! Many people will start to pay attention to their eating but they will continue to drink sodas, fruit juices, and other sugar-filled and calorie-laden drinks. Just because it is a liquid does not mean that it is calorie-free. It still counts towards your overall daily calorie count, though. If you like to have drinks other than water, test out some different options. You can always brew teas and sweeten them with Stevia. A good choice to do this with is Tazo Passion tea. Then, you cool it in the refrigerator and pour it over ice. It tastes just like fruit juice! Or, if you would rather, you can make lemonade out of fresh lemon juice, water and Stevia.

The trick is to get creative and find solutions that will create a healthier alternative for the things you like! So, never be afraid to experiment and try new things!

Portion control can be a great tool to create the better body you are seeking. Some of these suggestions can be put into effect today. Even though these do not represent a be-all-end-all solution, they can help you get started and find effective ways to get a good handle on your portion control. Take charge and decide that you deserve to have the health you desire!



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