Anyone who has ever embarked on a journey to lose a few pounds has heard it before; “dieting is 80% food, and 20% exercise.” In other words, go ahead, and exercise ‘til your little heart is content (being physically fit is always in!). However, if you tend to go home and eat a bag of chips fit for an entire family, weight loss won’t be the end result.
To become healthier, you simply must watch what you’re eating. Clean eating is extremely important, but not overeating may be just as important. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—everything in moderation! In order to learn how to successfully gain more control over how much food you’re actually consuming, embrace these six suggestions for how to practice portion control. Cuttin’ back ain’t always easy, but with these tips and tricks, it could be breezy!
1. Plant-Based Protein: When you fill up on plant-based sources of protein, you feel fuller longer, and reap the numerous health benefits that come with a plant-based diet, including weight loss. Some of my personal favorite punches of protein are black beans and quinoa. When I incorporate plant-based proteins into my meals, I notice that I don’t eat nearly as much as I do when my plate is missing its protein. It’s a great path to eating smaller portions, while feeling fulfilled.
2. Go H2O!: Our bodies are made up of a lot of water. So, obviously, you should stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount throughout the day. In addition to quenching our thirst, water can curb our appetites. Before you sit down to eat, try filling up on water. You’ll probably find that you’re not as hungry as you thought you were. Sometimes, our bodies get thirst and hunger mixed up! Rookie mistake, huh?
3. What’s on YOUR Plate?: The composition of your plate really does matter. A pile of pasta and a pile of pasta that’s loaded with veggies are two vastly different meals. Always reserve half of your plate for nutrient-rich, low-cal veggies. Try to satiate yourself with fruits and/or veggies prior to all that other stuff; those veggies just might save you from eating way too much empty calorie-dense pasta!
4. Nutrition Labels: Those overlooked sections on the back of prepackaged food boxes are tricky to say the least. We may look at the nutrition label on a small bag of chips, and mistakenly think “Wow! These aren’t as bad for you as I thought.” However, we must be smarter than the food industry giants. Even small packages of food tend to have more than one serving size. So, by eating a small bag of chips supposedly meant for two on your own, you’re eating double the calories, fat, etc., which throws your portion control right out the window. Pay attention, people!
5. Meal Prep: Meal prep is something I’ve dabbled in very lightly, but I have plans to get more serious about it. It’d be a shame to let all of my glass storage containers go to waste. Anyways, meal prepping allows you to measure out your food. This way, you really don’t have the option to overeat. Don’t be surprised if your idea of one cup is actually the equivalent of two cups.
6. Meals Are a Must: Skipping meals isn’t cool. It’s not good to eat next to nothing now because you’ll surely eat a ginormous meal later. I know firsthand that, when I go a long time without eating, I overcompensate later. The best route to portion control is to eat steady, balanced meals.