One of the biggest changes – and also possibly the hardest – I have made in my journey to living healthier was controlling my food portions. I mean, if a little bit is good, then a lot is great. Right?! While calorie counting can be very beneficial, knowing your portions may prove increasingly helpful for weight loss, or overall health. After all, 2000 calories of butter and 2000 calories of well-balanced meals can prove to have very different health outcomes.
It seems like when many people think of healthy eating, they assume that you can only eat pounds of salad and never enjoy desserts or other guilty pleasures. That is what I thought, at least. But, choosing to change my lifestyle doesn’t mean that I can’t have a brownie, just that I shouldn’t eat the whole pan! (Notice I said shouldn’t, not couldn’t).
“Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands and then just eating one of those pieces.”
We are brought up in a society where it is demanded that you must “clear everything on your plate”. That you must “eat it all before dessert”. Our grandparents were raised that way, as were our parents, and so on. While the idea of eating what is on your plate is not the worst idea, you want to make sure that still remains within an appropriate amount. Learning portion sizes, and applying it to how you prepare your meals throughout the day, can be a easier than you think! So, let’s highlight the basics:
- Serving of Protein (3-4 oz) – Approximately the size of your PALM
- Serving of Vegetables/Fruits (1 cup) – Approximately the size of your FIST
- Serving of Carbs (1/2 cup) – Approximately the size of a CUPPED HAND
- Serving of Fats (1-2Tbsp or 1oz) – Approximately the size of your THUMB
Easy to remember, right? So, what can be included in these categories? Here’s a few examples:
- Protein – Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Lean Pork or Beef, Eggs
- Vegetables/Fruits – Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Carrots, Asparagus, Green Beans, Strawberries, Blueberries, Grapes
- Carbs – Brown Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, Pasta, Oatmeal
- Fats – Cheese, Peanut Butter, Salad Dressing
Here’s another way to look at how your meals should look on a plate:
- Breakfast – 40% fruit, 40% starch/grain, 20% protein
- Lunch – 40% fruits/veggies, 40% starch, 20% protein
- Dinner – 50% veggies, 25% protein, 25% starch/grains
Another tip that I use (especially at home) is eating on a smaller plate. I always fix my dinner plate on a smaller plate than I do for my husband. It obviously takes less food to make it look full and keeps me from over-serving myself.
What methods do you use to control your portions?