The key to good health is as much about what, when, and how much you eat as it is about exercise. While there’s information aplenty on good vs bad fats, complex carbohydrates, and the dangers of added sugar, “serving size” and “portion size” are still fairly gray areas.
By serving yourself smaller portions – of what you like and what’s good for you – and eating more often, you rev up your metabolism and burn more calories than you consume. You also tend not to overeat or binge because you are starving or having cravings.
Smaller portion sizes of foods eaten more frequently also means better sugar control – just what you need to control or fight metabolic problems like diabetes. It also bodes well for your blood pressure and heart health in the long run.
Portion Size Versus Serving Size
“Serving size” is a standardized measurement of food used to recommend how much to ideally eat in one sitting. This is what you see printed on packaged food labels.
“Portion size,” on the other hand, is what you actually eat. This may be higher or lower than the serving size.
Get Started On Portion Control
While what’s ideal for you will depend on factors like your body type and lifestyle, one golden rule applies to everyone: Reduce portions of simple carbs and high-fat snacks and increase those of fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. You could also:
1. Choose smaller plates and bowls. The plate looks fuller and your mind buys into this “deception”!
2. Use your plate as a serving guide. For instance, plate up so veggies = half a plate, protein = quarter plate, complex carbs = quarter plate, and fat = 1 spoonful
3. Learn to eyeball your food so you can guess the correct portion size. For example, a good quantity of fruits and veggies for one meal would be the size of a cricket ball, while your meat portion should be the size of your palm.
4. Skip the appetizers and split a dish when eating out to satisfy those cravings and eat right. Or get half of your dish packed “to go.”
5. Never eat straight from the packet. Plate the correct portion and chew slowly to enjoy every bite.
6. Read nutrition labels. You’ll be surprised how many “servings” even a small biscuit packet contains!
Want to take charge of what goes on your plate? Here are some more tips to streamline your eating habits.