Best way to lose weight is Portion Control?
Portion sizes have grown considerably in recent years and one recent US study found that some foods had grown up to five times their original size since the 1970s! Mammoth servings in restaurants, super-size fast food meals, the rise of all-you-can-eat buffets, family packs of crisps in the shops and jumbo lattes in coffee chains have all contributed to this phenomenon.
Due to lifestyle changes, many people now eat away from home which is a problem as you have less control over the amount of food on their plates. Research has shown that when given larger portions, people are more likely to overeat because it’s harder to gauge what is a ‘normal’ or acceptable amount. Larger portions can lead to weight gain due to an increase in calorie intake and this in turn can cause health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. It has been proven the best way to lose weight is by portion control; therefore it is very important to control and keep an eye on your portions.
That isn’t to say you should be eating so little that you end up going hungry – rather more about listening to your body and putting your knife and fork down.
What is the ideal portion size?
A healthy diet is all about getting the right foods in the right amounts. Next time you are dishing up, bear these simple tips in mind:
– The meat or other protein-based part of your meal should be around the size of a deck of cards.
– The starchy part of your meal should be around the size of one tennis ball or your balled fist. This includes rice, potatoes, bread or grains.
– Fruit and vegetables should fill around half of your plate if possible.
– Oils and fats should be kept to a minimum, for example, less than one tablespoon.
Ways to keep portion sizes sensible…
– Fast foods aren’t recommended as part of a healthy diet, so don’t super-size! However if you find yourself tempted to tuck into a burger, opt for the regular or even better the small-sized meal. Large or extra-large meals can be value for money, but they are extremely high in calories and fat, and can contain bad fats; the trans fatty acids.
– Fizzy drinks, milkshakes and sweet, milky coffees are also available in over-sized portions so it’s not just food! These can be high in calories, so again stick to regular or small sizes.
– Avoid over sized foods such as giant cookies.
– Don’t feel guilty about leaving food on your plate when you’re eating out. The majority of people have grown up with the notion that they have to clear their plates at every meal, however if you feel that leaving food is wasteful, most restaurants are happy to oblige if you order a child’s meal or half a portion.
– If you find yourself at an all-you-can-eat buffet, only fill up once on just a small plate.
– When cooking a meal at home, dish up half the portion you would usually have. You will be surprised at how full you will feel, however if you do not feel full, enjoy the rest of your dinner, but if you do, you can save the rest for lunch the next day. This saves pennies too as you are halving the price of your meal!
– On packaged foods, check the ‘number of servings’. You will be very surprised to find that one pack contains several servings. You will find that many people do not take this into account and find themselves consuming a meal made for four persons. Following serving sizes can help keep portion size down.
– Try not to eat out of big bags of snacks such as crisps, nuts or sweets, because one you start, you just won’t stop until the pack has been demolished. Tip your snacks into a small serving bowl instead which won’t tempt you as much to keep picking.
– You don’t have to worry too much about portion sizes when eating nutritious foods such as fruit, veg, pulses and wholegrains, but you should focus on reducing portions of fatty and sugary foods as these contain the most calories and the least nutrients.
How big are your portions and have you tried this method of portion control?