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Make Portion Control a Habit with These Tips

It’s no surprise that most people eat more food when offered larger portions, so portion control is important when trying to make eating-habit changes. Whatever your reason for wanting to learn portion control–weight management, intuitive eating, or cleaner eating–you can learn portion control!

A portion is the amount of food you put on your plate, while a serving is an exact amount of food. To get a better handle on what you’re eating, you can try the following things.

How to Better Portion Control

  1. Listen to hunger cues: eating for fun or for boredom can quickly result in over-eating. It’s important to pay attention to when you’re actually hungry as well as stop when you start to feel full. You should stop eating when you feel satisfied.
  2. Drink water before eating: Sometimes thirst can mask as hunger. If you drink a glass of water about 30 minutes before eating, it can aid in natural portion control and prevents over-eating.
  3. Don’t eat from the container or bag: food that’s packaged/bagged in large containers or packages can actually promote overeating. This is especially true for snacks like chips and candy. A way to avoid this is to pour a small amount onto a plate.
  4. Try to use the same dishes, so portion measurements are more consistent: by using the same plates or tuber ware to pack/eat food, you can consistently measure food portions more accurately. For example, vegetables should take up half the plate/container, proteins should take up about a quarter of the plate, and carbs should take up the last quarter.
  5. Eat slowly: when your eating, it takes your stomach a little while to send signals to your brain saying it’s full. When you eat slower, your brain will receive the signal to stopĀ before you overeat.
  6. Separate mealtime and tv time: this one can be hard. Sometimes, our time to eat is our only down-time. We want to relax and be entertained for a little, but when we watch tv while eating, we get distracted. This distraction can cause us to overeat.
  7. Avoid takeout: another hard one! If you can’t avoid it, at least make it two meals. Portions from restaurants are typically double or more the correct portion.
  8. Ask for half a portion when eating out or automatically put half the meal aside: playing off the last point, if restaurants won’t serve in half sizes, automatically put half the meal aside. This will prevent over-eating.

Written by GUADS staff member Toni with contributions from www.mayoclinic.com and www.healthline.com

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