How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to Help Manage Your Weight
|When eating at many
restaurants, it's hard to miss that portion sizes have gotten larger in the
last few years. The trend has also spilled over into the grocery store and
vending machines, where a bagel has become a BAGEL and an “individual” bag
of chips can easily feed more than one. Research shows that people
unintentionally consume more calories when faced with larger portions. This
can mean significant excess calorie intake, especially when eating
high-calorie foods. Here are some tips to help you avoid some common
Portion control when eating out.
Many restaurants serve more food than one person needs at one meal. Take
control of the amount of food that ends up on your plate by splitting an
entrée with a friend. Or, ask the wait person for a “to-go” box and wrap up
half your meal as soon as it’s brought to the table.
|Portion control when eating in.
To minimize the temptation of second and third helpings when eating at
home, serve the food on individual plates, instead of putting the serving
dishes on the table. Keeping the excess food out of reach may discourage
Portion control in front of the
TV. When eating or snacking in front of the TV, put the amount that you
plan to eat into a bowl or container instead of eating straight from the
package. It’s easy to overeat when your attention is focused on something
||Go ahead, spoil your dinner.
We learned as children not to snack before a meal for fear of “spoiling
our dinner.” Well, it’s time to forget that old rule. If you feel hungry
between meals, eat a healthy snack, like a piece of fruit or small salad, to
avoid overeating during your next meal.
Be aware of large packages.
For some reason, the larger the package, the more people consume from it
without realizing it. To minimize this effect:
|Divide up the contents of one
large package into several smaller containers to help avoid
|Don’t eat straight from the
package. Instead, serve the food in a small bowl or container.
Out of sight, out of mind.
People tend to consume more when they have easy access to food. Make your home a
“portion friendly zone.”
|Replace the candy dish with a fruit
|Store especially tempting foods,
like cookies, chips, or ice cream, out of immediate eyesight, like on a high
shelf or at the back of the freezer. Move the healthier food to the front at
eye level. |
|When buying in bulk, store the
excess in a place that’s not convenient to get to, such as a high cabinet or
at the back of the pantry. |