When losing weight and striving to feel good, portion control is one of the biggest keys to success. Here are tips and tricks I've learn along the way. Thank you to QSquared NYC for helping me to share this recipe with you.
I'm excited to kick off the third week of the Healthy New Year 6-Week Challenge that I'm hosting with my friend Liz of The Lemon Bowl. We've been so excited to see all of you sharing ideas in our Facebook group and posting pictures on Instagram for our #HealthyNewYear challenge.
...the challenge is portion control!
When it comes to healthy living, I'm not one to slack on exercising or to cook unhealthy meals. So, when I start to feel my energy dropping or I put on a few pounds, I have to look elsewhere. And ever since losing 30 pounds, I know just what the culprit is. Portion sizes.
But eating healthy foods and exercising regularly means that I can eat as much as I want, right? How I wish that was the case...because hummus is so darn good and I just want to eat the whole container. I feel the same way about crackers and cheese, pasta and popcorn. Some days it requires a personal intervention to pull myself away.
Over time I've learned that eating the appropriate amount, or too much, of any meal or snack can mean the difference between feeling great and feeling like a slug in mud. Or gaining 5 pounds and hearing the seams on my favorite jeans groaning.
While I am a calorie counter (have I mentioned how much I love the MyFitnessPal app?), I'm not suggesting that you have to do the same. However, I do want to share with you some portion control tips and tricks that I've learned along the way.
Weights and measures
My kitchen scale and measuring cups are in constant use in my kitchen, particularly when I'm serving up a certain meal or snack for the first time.
What do 1 cup of pasta, ½ cup of quinoa or 1 ounce of cheese actually look like? Becoming familiar with the serving size of your favorite foods helps you to become aware of how much you are actually eating. Because unfortunately, that pasta dish at your favorite restaurant is probably equal to two servings sizes. Bummer, right?
Learn to eyeball
I don't know about you guys, but I don't usually carry around measuring cups in my purse and pull them out at restaurants. That kind of behavior is bound to set off the weird-o-meter! So, I use a couple of tips and tricks to eyeball measurements.
- 1 serving of fruits or vegetables = size of a baseball (not a softball) or the size of a woman’s fist
- ½ cup cooked or raw veggies = rounded handful
- 3 ounces of chicken or meat = size of a deck of cards or a standard bar of soap
- 1 small russet potato = size of a computer mouse
- ¼ cup dried fruit or nuts = size of a large egg
- 1 cup of cereal = size of a woman’s fist
- 1 ½ ounces cheese = 4 dice stacked together
Small & light save the day
There is quite a bit of research that show that we eat less when eating off of smaller plates. If you use a huge plate, that 1 cup of pasta is going to look awfully scrawny and give you the urge to pile on more. Smaller plates and bowls keep things in perspective.
It's also been shown that eating foods that contrast in color with your plates is linked to eating less. Since we're all trying to eat brightly colored foods (lots of vitamins and minerals!), that means eating off of white plates will help you out. The Round Ruffle collection by QSquared NYC is something we use in our kitchen everyday. They're pretty to look at, they're the perfect size and, even better, they're made of BPA-free melamine, which means they're great for indoor or outdoor entertaining.
We touched on the important of hydration in the Healthy New Year Challenge hydration week. One of the benefits to drinking water throughout the day is that it helps curb overeating. At meals, taking sips of water can help to slow down your eating. And since it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to let the brain know it's full, slowing down is a good thing.
If I inhale my meal in 10 minutes, I still feel hungry. So, what do I do? I eat more. About 15 minutes later, I feel like a stuck pig because I consumed far more food than my body actually needed. Drinking water and slowing down keeps everything in check.
Sit the heck down
In the true spirit of hypocrisy, I'm going to suggest that you sit down and step away from your computer, TV and phone while you eat. This is a huge downfall for me and it leads to overeating every single time. I think that's because I'm so distracted that I'm not actually thinking about or truly enjoying what I'm putting in my mouth. Sitting down and being aware helps every time.
Be sure to head over to read about Liz's 5 Strategies for Effortless Portion Control! She has some great ideas, as usual.
I would love to hear any portion control suggestions you use in your day. Good luck on the challenge this week!
Be sure to check out QSquared NYC's other collections too, because there are plenty of beautiful dishes that will not only look beautiful on your table, but also help highlight that vibrant food.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by QSquared NYC. All opinions are my own. This post contains links to my Amazon affiliate page. Any revenue made from sales through these links helps to support this blog. Thank you!