Portion Distortion: Tips About Food Portions
To control your weight, you need to do more than just choose a healthy mix of foods. You should also look at the kinds of food you eat and how much you eat at a time. To keep a healthy weight, you need to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn. People who are more active may burn more calories. Being more active may be a good way to help you offset the calories you eat. Learn 9 easy tips on how to control food portions so that you can eat just enough for you.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Nutrition Facts label (food label) is printed on most packaged foods. The label tells you how many calories and how much fat, protein, sodium (salt), and other nutrients are in one serving of food. Most packaged foods contain more than a single serving.
You do not need to measure and count everything you eat for the rest of your life—just do this long enough to recognize typical serving sizes. Try the ideas below to help you control portions at home:
- Take the amount of food that is equal to one serving, according to the food label, and eat it off a plate instead of eating straight out of a large box or bag.
- Avoid eating in front of the TV or while busy with other activities. Pay attention to what you are eating, chew your food well, and fully enjoy the smell and taste of your food.
- Eat slowly so your brain can get the message when your stomach is full.
- Try using smaller dishes, bowls and glasses. This way, when you fill up your plate or glass, you will be eating and drinking less.
- Control your intake of higher-fat, higher-calorie parts of a meal. Take seconds of vegetables and salads (watch the toppings and dressing) instead of desserts and dishes with heavy sauces.
- When cooking in large batches, freeze food that you will not serve right away. This way, you will not be tempted to finish eating the whole batch before the food goes bad. And you will have ready-made food for another day. Freeze leftovers in amounts that you can use for a single serving or for a family meal another day.
- Try to eat meals at regular times. Skipping meals or leaving large gaps of time between meals may lead you to eat larger amounts of food the next time you eat.
- When buying snacks, go for fruit or single-serving prepackaged items and foods that are lower-calorie options. If you buy larger bags or boxes of snacks, divide the items into single-serve packages right away so you won't be tempted to overeat.
- When you do have a treat like chips or ice cream, measure out only one serving as shown by the food label. Eat only 1/2 cup of ice cream or 1 ounce of chips, eat them slowly, and enjoy them!
Let a registered dietitian help you devise a meal plan that works for you. Visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/dnec to learn more about the Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center or call 678-312-6040 to schedule an appointment.