Portion Control doesn’t mean that you need to eat tiny amounts or measure out precisely the number of peas on your plate (FYI if you are actually counting your peas we need to talk...) It's making sure that we aren't over/under eating per meal in order to control our body weight. If we’re eating too much, then we may need to retrain our brain to see a smaller-than-normal portion as satisfying. If we're not eating enough then we're going to be really hungry and probably really irritable (hunger>mood).
Here are 8 tricks to control your portions per meal:
1. Use a smaller plate
A standard-sized portion will look small on a larger plate, making you feel dissatisfied. Use a smaller plate to prevent overloading.
2. Don’t double your carbs
If you already have some starchy carbohydrate with your meal, do you need bread or naan as well? You could be doubling your portion, so if you like to have some bread on the side, cut down on the amount of starchy carbohydrate going on your plate.
3. Give measuring cups a go
Finding it difficult to gauge the right amount to eat? Try using measuring cups, but you don’t need to have special cups, you could use any teacups, mugs or containers that work for you. It’s just a simple way of measuring the amount for you every time.
4. Be selective with your seconds
Finish your meal with fruit rather than chocolate cake. An apple will help to fill you up more than a couple of squares of chocolate, but both contain similar amounts of calories.
5. Don't pick at leftovers
Wasting food certainly isn’t ideal, but it doesn’t mean you need to finish off everyone else’s dinner... Avoid the temptation to polish off children’s or grandchildren’s meals or to nibble leftovers when there’s not quite enough for a whole portion.
If you find it happens regularly, then get into the habit of cooking less or have a plan to use up leftovers in another meal.
6. 20-minute rule
Think you haven’t had enough? Wait for about 20 minutes before reaching for a second helping. It can take a little while for you to feel full after you have eaten. So avoid the temptation to keep eating and see if you get that feeling.
7. Check food labels
Make sure you know what portion the nutrition information on the front of pack relates to. It might be different to the amount you would normally serve yourself.
8. Ask for less
When you’re eating out, watch out for supersized portions. It’s easier to avoid temptation if the food isn’t on your plate to begin with, so say no to the bread basket and think about whether you need to have chips with your burger.
Here's some handy references that we found online for measuring portions: