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10 tips to measure and control portion sizes
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Team Gabit
2 months ago | 5 mins

10 tips to measure and control portion sizes


Do you feel like you are eating too much or too less? Steer yourself into this ultimate manual with 10 highly promising tips to manage your portion control.

Having a balanced diet is one of the biggest contributors in weight loss but the portion size of each ingredient plays an equal role. If you’re eating a low-calorie food item but in a huge quantity, it would lead to weight gain instead of weight loss. This is exactly why a portion control diet is significant in every individual’s meal plan. 

What do we mean by portion sizes?

Portion size of food is essentially how much you eat at one point of time and remains under your control. However, a serving size is the amount of food mentioned in the nutrient label of any product. These don’t recommend how much to eat but are a standard portion size of how much people usually eat and the nutrients per serving size. Your portion sizes may or may not match the serving sizes since these are subjective decisions. Over the years, the portion sizes have grown drastically larger compared to the past leading to a condition called portion distortion. What is worse here is that we have normalised these increasing portion sizes that are both bad for our weight and health. 

Importance of portion control

know and learn about portion control diet

Portion control has a direct connection with our weight management. The more at ease we are about our portion sizes, the more we are likely to fall in the trap of overeating and overconsumption. Overconsumption of unhealthy fats leads to heart issues, similarly high intake of sugar leads to diabetes. Although a larger portion in less money, values your wallet but not so much your health. 

As long as it is fresh vegetables and fruits, you could eat a larger portion but not the same with fast food or processed food, since it is neither rich in nutrients nor low in calories. 

Understanding portion sizes

know and learn about portion control diet

Refer to these varied portion sizes of food items per serving that you are likely to consume frequently. To make it easy for you, these have been compared to the size of things that you’re likely to have a visual idea about.  

  1. Bread - 1 slice or 1 CD case. 
  2. Pasta, rice, oatmeal or cereal - ½ cup or 1 tennis ball. 
  3. Butter and oils - 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. 
  4. Green leafy vegetables - 1 cup or 1 baseball. 
  5. Spreads like almond butter or peanut butter - 1 tablespoon or thumb size. 
  6. Baked fries - 1 cup + 1 teaspoon of oil or 1 baseball. 
  7. Cheese - 1 ounce or 2 dice. 
  8. Whole fruit - 1 medium fruit or 1 baseball. 
  9. Cooked fish or seafood - 3 ounces or 1 chequebook. 
  10. Low-fat mayonnaise - 1 tablespoon or 1 shot glass. 
  11. Chicken and other meats - 3 ounces or 1 deck of cards. 
  12. Low-fat milk or yoghurt -1 cup or 1 baseball. 
  13. Cookies - 2 small cookies or 1 medium cookie compared to 2 poker chips. 
  14. Ice Cream - ½ cup or ½ baseball. 
  15. Cake - 1 slice or 1 deck of cards. 
  16. Vegetables - 1 cup or 1 small bunch in hand or 1 baseball. 
  17. Nuts and seeds - ⅓ cup or small handful. 
  18. Snacks like chips or pretzels - 1 ounce or 1 cupped handful. 
  19. Egg - 1 whole egg or 2 egg whites. 
  20. Chocolate - 1-1.5 ounces or six small squares. 

Portion control tools

Although visual comparisons are a fun way to measure your portion sizes, you could use these portion control tools for precise measurements - 

know and learn about portion control diet
  1. Measuring cups and spoons of varied values. 
  2. Portion control containers marked with specific food-groups. 
    know and learn about portion control diet
  3. Portion control plates marked with sections for various foods to make up a portion control diet. 
  4. Food scale to measure grams, ounces and litres. 
  5. Small plates and bowls to reduce portion sizes naturally. 

Eating mindfully

Eating mindfully is basically giving a good thought to what you eat and how much of it you eat. It helps to control binge eating and overeating and helps us to recognise the hunger cues of our body. There are other aspects like emotional eating which happens when you eat to cope up with your emotions and external eating which happens due to external cues like aromas, social situations, visual appeals or food being available right in front of you. 

Mindful eating includes eating without distractions, eating in silence, chewing thoroughly, managing food portion size, stopping when you’re full and recognising how food makes you feel. 

What are practical portion control tips? 

Now that you’re well aware of what is portion control, here are your final 10 portion control tips- 

know and learn about portion control diet
  1. Use small plates to limit portion sizes and divide them according to food groups. Keep half a plate for vegetables, a quarter for protein, a quarter for complex carbs and half a teaspoon to one teaspoon for healthy fats like cheese, spreads, dips or oils. 
  2. Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before every meal to keep you hydrated, slightly full and keep portion control under check. 
  3. Eat slowly because the faster you eat, the more likely you are to finish your first serving and end up overeating. Take about 20 minutes of break between your next serving for your body to process the eaten food and give you the accurate hunger cues. 
    know and learn about portion control diet
  4. Maintain a food diary to track your calorie intake and your food choices throughout the day. 
  5. Don’t eat the leftovers if you’re not hungry and save them for later. 
  6. So many times we just end up eating food because it is lying on the kitchen counter or the dining table. Store your food inside to avoid munching mindlessly. 
  7. Read food labels to know which nutrients you’re consuming and how much of it. 
  8. Control your portion sizes when it comes to liquids and sweets. 
    know and learn about portion control diet
  9. Cook mini versions of what satisfies your taste. This could be a mug cake or a small bowl of baked lasagna or a pie too. 
  10. Don’t eat directly out of the container because you’re likely to eat more if you can’t measure it. Empty the portion size in a bowl. 

Portion control at restaurants

While eating at home can certainly be put under portion control but outside it might be tricky. Read these quick tips that have your back at a restaurant - 

  1. Ask for smaller portions because the larger your portion sizes are, the more you’ll end up eating. 
  2. You could also share your meal with someone or take half of it home. 
    know and learn about portion control diet
  3. Ask for more veggies and less carbs and fats in your portion control diet. 
  4. Order grilled, steamed or roasted options instead of fried. There are restaurants that have a low-calorie menu, always look for that. 
  5. Begin your meal with a salad to fill you up a bit before the final meal. 
  6. Assess all the buffet options before you eat to make healthier choices. 

Portion control for special diets

Here is how you can incorporate portion control in any diet that you choose - 

  1. Low-carb diets like keto - Limit carbohydrate intake, focus on proteins and include healthy fats. 
  2. Plant-based diets like vegan and vegetarian - Include a good quantity of plant-based foods and measure out plant-based proteins and fats. 
  3. Low-fat diet - Choose proteins and limit fats and carbs. 

Portion control challenges you may face

Beware of these challenges that make come in the way of your portion control diet - 

  1. Mindless eating - This could happen due to distractions or emotional eating as well. 
  2. Fighting cravings - Cravings are temptations that are hard to resist and in a portion control diet, that remains to be the biggest challenge. 
  3. Social situations - At events or around friends, it becomes tough to count on what you eat. 
    know and learn about portion control diet
  4. Confusion with nutrition labels - If you can’t master the art of reading nutrition labels, you might end up making mistakes in your calculations.
  5. Drop of energy levels and nutrient deficiency - If you’re avoiding to eat a nutrient too much, your energy levels might drop and with constant practice, you may experience deficiencies as well. 

Conclusion

Meticulous portion control is the only answer to weight management and a healthy body. With portion control tips and tools, visual comparisons and mindful eating, you could achieve a successful portion control diet. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does controlling portion sizes help in weight management?

Controlling portion sizes help in weight management by limiting high-caloric sources like unhealthy fats and sugars. All the nutrients are obtained by your body in adequate proportions and overeating is prevented. 

Can I control portion sizes when eating out?

You can control portion sizes when eating out by sharing meals, asking for more veggies, taking half of the meal back home and ordering grilled and steamed options instead of fried. 

Are there specific tools that can help measure food portions accurately?

Measuring cups and spoons, weighing scale, small sized cutlery, portion control containers and plates are tools that can help measure food portions accurately.

How do I adjust portion sizes for different types of food?

You can remember the visual portion indicators for different food items. For example, one serving of vegetables is the size of a baseball or one serving of pasta is the size of a tennis ball. 

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