Supersizing your meals could lead to all kinds of weight-related problems
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 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.
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.
Eat slowly. Sit at the table—not in front of the TV—and savor your food. “It takes 20 minutes for your brain to send a signal to your stomach that you’re full,” Stewart says. Take your time.
Put away extras. Out of sight, out of mind, out of mouth. Store leftovers as soon as you’ve made your plate so you’re not tempted to go back for extra helpings.
Plan for eating out. Check the restaurant’s menu online before you head out for a night of wining and dining.
Split a meal. If the restaurant serves huge portions, share a meal with your dining companion. Or get a to-go box when your food is served and pack away half for tomorrow’s lunch.
Don’t beat yourself up. If you ate enough for two today, start over tomorrow by making smart portion choices.