Team Beast writer Matt Weik gives you the lowdown on how to portion your meals correctly. Let's go!
Portion control is one of those things that either you understand it or you don’t. You either know what it encompasses or you end up gorging and have your plate overflowing with food. Portion control is something that will either help you with your weight loss goals or it can cause you to gain a significant amount of weight (body fat) fairly quickly.
With all of the content on the internet these days, I didn’t want to give you the same old “here’s what your plate should look like” piece of content that you’ve probably read a thousand times already. Instead, I want to provide you with some tricks to help you manage your mealtime portion control. Here are five tricks to managing mealtime portion control that you can start implementing into your life.
1. Browse the buffet before grabbing a plate
You’re not alone if you’ve fallen victim to overeating at buffets. I’ve been there myself. But a great way to make sure you can plan out what you want to eat and have some portion control over the plates you fill up, you’ll want to browse the buffet and see what all is available before you even pick up a plate.
By scoping out the choices, you can mentally plan out your portion control efforts by thinking about what you want to eat and making better choices rather than walking from one buffet area to the next and telling yourself you should grab some of that since it looks good. Before you know it, your plate is about four inches deep of food piled on top of each other. You’d swear by the looks of it they yelled “last call!”
Get your game plan together and then get yourself a plate. This will definitely help with portion control and prevent you from needing to loosen your belt a notch – or a few.
2. Stop eating food from a bag
If you are shoving your fist into a bag, unless you can magically turn your hand into a scale, you have no idea how much you are consuming. Generally, this happens when someone has chips or a similar item with their meal. When you eat from a bag, you have no idea how much you are really eating. Is it one serving or five? Who knows?
To get a better visual of your portion control for that item, dump some of the contents out onto your plate so you can visually see how much you have given yourself to eat
(and actually look at what the bag says is a single serving). Reseal the bag when you portioned out your serving and put the bag away to be used for another meal. If you are packing some of the contents from the bag for a lunch you plan to take to work or school, grab a Ziplock bag and portion it out. Don’t take the whole bag with you or you could fall into the trap of shoving your hand in and eating directly from the bag.
Here’s another reason why you shouldn’t take a full bag with you for a lunch. Did you forget a clip to seal the bag? Even worse as you’ll feel guilty and eat the whole bag so you don’t waste it or have it spill out everywhere and create a mess while trying to transport it.
This is actually a great segue to move into our next portion control trick.
3. Don’t eat in front of the television
Guilty as charged. Maybe you are as well? When I was single, this was me at all meals where I was at home. There was no one to talk to so I would turn on the television and watch sports or something interesting I found while scrolling through the guide. This caused me to stop paying attention to the food I was eating and had me overeating quite often.
Why would I fail at portion control prior to even sitting down to eat in front of the television? It’s simple, if I had the bag of food like mentioned above, as long as the show or game was still on, I’d continue to sit there and shove my hand in for more servings even though I’d “portion” them out on my plate. Or I’d go back for seconds of the meal I prepared if I was still feeling hungry and then sit back down in front of the television. It was a continuous hole I was digging for myself.
I finally realized what was happening and corrected the situation by turning off the television when I was eating and rather used that time to either relax in peace or plan out the rest of my day, night, or even plan for the following day.
4. Split your restaurant meals in half
When you eat out, more than likely you are getting close to twice the portion size you really need to be eating. For that reason and the sake of portion control measures, as soon as your meal comes out, ask for a to-go box and split your entire meal in half and immediately put half in the to-go box to take home.
This actually does two things. The first is, you are able to have better mealtime portion control and eat the correct quantity rather than simply eating everything that is in front of you and consuming way more calories than you intended to. The second thing is that you now have a second meal that you can take home and have another day. So, that
$15 meal you just purchased ended up only being $7.50 when you consider you got two meals out of it. I call that a win in my book.
5. Use a smaller plate
This is a very common trick to portion control but you need to be steadfast and not go up for seconds or thirds of food. You are using a smaller plate for a reason – to help with portion control to aid you in your weight loss efforts. Plan to have about half of your plate as a healthy carbohydrate such as vegetables and then split the remaining half between a protein source of your choice as well as a healthy fat.
The smaller plate will put things in perspective and help prevent you from adding more food to your plate since you would still see some white space to fill. This trick of using a smaller plate is more mental than anything since the visual of putting the same amount of food on a big plate versus a small can look drastically different and the bigger plate will make it appear like you hardly have anything on your plate to eat.