Portion Control

Tips to Managing Portion Control 

Created by: Kristen Carli, Dietetic Intern

One of the best methods to adopting a healthier lifestyle is utilizing portion control. Portion control does not have to mean eating small, unsatisfying meals. In fact, you may find you feel more satisfied using the following tips.

Balanced Plate

The key to satiety is a balance of macronutrients. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It is important to build a meal around a balance of these macronutrients. This will not only help keep you full and satisfied, but will also properly fuel your body, providing your body with adequate nutrition.

Carbohydrates are often given a bad reputation, but they are your body’s major source of energy. When cooking a meal, fill ¼ of your plate with healthy carbohydrates like whole grains or starchy vegetables. Some examples are sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, corn tortillas, butternut squash, etc.

Protein is vital for building muscle, fighting infection, as well as repairing cells. Aim to fill ¼ of your plate with lean sources of protein such as skinless poultry, low-fat dairy, tofu, beans, legumes, etc. 

Fat should also make its way onto your plate. Seek out healthy sources of fat such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butters, etc. You only need a little bit of fat to complete your meal. Eat ¼ of an avocado, a small handful of nuts, or about a thumb’s worth of oil. 

Outside of these macronutrients, it is important to seek out lots of non-starchy vegetables. These vegetables provide a lot of fiber and plenty of micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Aim to have ½ of your plate filled with non-starchy vegetables at each meal. Some examples of non-starchy vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, asparagus, arugula, kale, salad greens, brussels sprouts, etc. 

At Restaurants, Order Less

Restaurants are known for serving giant portions. Some plates can feed several diners! If you are at a restaurant that you know serves large portions, order less food. Try to split an entree with someone or ask the server for a smaller portion. They are often very happy to comply!

Wait 20 Minutes

Try to eat slowly wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full. You might not feel full as you are eating, but try to enjoy the company and the conversation while you wait. After 20 minutes, it is likely that you will be full. 

Material adapted from eatright.org

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