Becoming Portion Control Savvy

Healthy Portion Choices Every Day, All Day.

The Impetus

Portion control is at the heart of eating what you enjoy and maintaining an effective weight management program. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. Maintaining a healthy weight requires a balance between what you consume and the energy you use. Being portion control savvy means you are satiated, energized and in control. Here are 6 easy tips to help you make healthy portion choices every day, all day.

The Awakening

1. Start with water. Studies show that proper hydration (we recommend drinking ½ of your body weight in ounces daily) leads to less consumption of calories. Healthy hydration is the cornerstone of self care and a great way to help you fill full faster which prevents over eating. Drink a glass of water at least 30 minutes before a meal. Bonus: water also aids the digestion.

2. Don’t skip meals. When you skip meals, your body goes into survival mode because you are risking nutrient deficiencies linked to fatigue, poor mental function, and other health concerns, therefore, your body begins to store fat. “If you routinely skip breakfast, you may be headed for trouble,” says Leah Cahill, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health. One of Cahill's studies found that women who skipped breakfast regularly had a 20% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Another of her studies—this one in men—linked going without a morning meal to heart disease. "Our bodies need to be fed food regularly in order to maintain healthy levels of blood lipids such as cholesterol, hormones such as insulin, and normal blood pressure," Cahill says. You may also over indulge at the next meal which throws your body out of balance.

Instead of skipping meals try a healthy meal replacement protein shake but do your research when choosing a shake. You may also want to add a small portion of protein like a hard-boiled egg to aid in curbing your appetite.

3. Use approximation. Don’t sweat not being able to accurately measure a serving size instead learn some helpful approximation tips. For example, a healthy serving size of lean meat is approximately the size of a deck of cards. Use your hand. 1 cup is about the size of your fist and 1-2 ounces of a food like nuts or pretzels = your cupped hand. Although, this seems small when paired with other healthy portions you will be satisfied.

4. Divide and conquer. Divide your dinner plate down the middle. Then fill 50% of your plate with vegetables. Divide the other half of your plate again into two 25% sections. Use one section for your protein and the other 25% section fill with a healthy starch like brown rice. The more color you can get on your plate the healthier the meal.

5. Know your measurements. We tend to choose our food based on calories, and that is a good thing, but we often ignore serving sizes. Try to stick to the serving size by measuring out your meal or healthy snack.

6. The dining out conundrum. A review published in 2013 stated that larger plates of food can lead to us eating up lead to 45% more than what our average intake would be. This can be managed by eating only half of what is on your plate and then taking home the other half. You can even take this a step further by asking your server to box up half of your meal before it reaches you, thus eliminating the temptation to over eat.

More Healthy Choices

We recommend you watch our short 3 minute video "Weight Matters: The 1st Few Pounds" then explore even more healthy choices with "Weight Matters." 

Be Healthy by Choice and not by Chance.

Sources used:

San Joaquin Health "Understanding Portion Control" pg. 32