Since most Americans have been trained to ignore serving sizes and nutritional labels - especially when eating out, controlling portion sizes can be difficult for some to manage at first.
Here are 10 simple ways you can control portion sizes, and start losing excess weight.
1. Start measuring accurately.
Begin using kitchen gadgets and accessories to measure portions and serving sizes such as measuring cups, measuring spoons, and scales.
2. Become better at estimating serving sizes.
Try to visualize certain objects that can help you estimate and measure serving sizes. For example, 1 cup of food equates roughly to the size of a tennis ball.
3. Start using smaller dishware sizes.
When serving yourself a plate of food or bowl of soup, use smaller dishes that hold just the right serving size. Using larger dishes and plates could cause you to eat larger portions unintentionally.
4. Dish out servings in the kitchen instead of at the table.
Placing meals and side dishes on the dining room table could encourage you to eat second helpings and extra portions. Instead of placing food on the table buffet-style, keep all food in the kitchen and serve yourself from the stove and counters.
5. Portion out meals and snacks in advance.
Some dieters and weight-conscious individuals prefer to prep their meals in advance and place the correct amount of servings in sandwich bags and plasticware. This practice can actually help you stick to eating smaller portion sizes.
6. Add milk or cream before coffee.
It can be hard to keep track of how much sugar, cream, and milk you pour into coffee and tea when you add them to these drinks instead of the other way around. Measure out your serving sizes prior to pouring your coffee or tea.
7. Measure cooking oils carefully.
Although some oils are healthier than others, eating more than needed can tack on extra calories. Instead, use measuring cups or spoons when placing cooking oils in pans and over food.
8. Eat less when going to restaurants.
Most restaurants, especially chain-restaurants, can often serve up to 3 times the amount of recommended serving sizes. Split meals with a friend or partner, or put half of your portion in a to-go box immediately upon arriving.
9. Add vegetable servings to every meal.
Most vegetables are rich in fiber, which can create a lasting feeling of fullness, not to mention vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will contribute to weight loss. Eat vegetables as a side dish with every meal, and add to sandwiches.
10. Pay closer attention to hunger cues.
Stop eating immediately when you start to feel satisfied or full. Our brains take several minutes to communicate to our stomachs that we are full, which can sometimes result in overeating. Keep in mind that you can always grab a quick healthy snack later on if you are still hungry.