Portion sizes are growing – and so are we. Today’s average restaurant meal is more than four times larger than in the 1950s and adults are, on average, 26 pounds heavier. Want to eat healthy? Order smaller meals, split with a friend or eat half and bring the rest to Danny (no mushrooms). Here’s more great advice on portion control from the CDC.
Avoid Portion-Size Pitfalls
We tend to eat more than we realize when faced with large portions, which usually translates into too many calories. Some tips to help you avoid some common portion-size pitfalls:
- Larger portions of water- and fibre-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables and broth-based soups, can fill you up with less calories.
- If you start with a low-calorie appetizer (like a broth-based soup or green salad) you’ll consume fewer total calories during the meal.
- Split an entrée with a friend, or ask the server for a to-go box and wrap up half your meal as soon as it’s brought to the table.
- To minimize the temptation of second and third helpings at home, serve food on individual plates instead of putting the actual serving dishes on the table. Keeping excess food out of reach may discourage overeating.
- If you like snacking in front of the TV, put the amount you plan to eat in a bowl instead of eating straight from the package. It’s easy to overeat when your attention is focused elsewhere.
- Forget the old rule that warns not to snack between meals for fear of “spoiling your dinner.” If you feel hungry eat a healthy snack, like a piece of fruit or small salad, to avoid overeating during your next meal.
- Beware of large packages. For some reason, the larger the package, the more we tend to eat from it – without realizing it. To minimize this effect, divide the contents of one large package into smaller containers to help avoid overconsumption, and never eat straight from the package.
- We tend to consume more when we have easy access to food. Make your home a portion-friendly zone by replacing the candy dish with a fruit bowl and storing tempting foods, like cookies, chips or ice cream, out of sight (on a high shelf or at the back of the freezer). Move healthier food to the front at eye level.
- When buying in bulk, store the excess in a place that’s inconvenient to get to, such as a high cabinet or at the back of the pantry.
- Remember, not all portion sizes are created equal. Healthy foods often let you consume more per serving with fewer calories than “junk” foods.