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Portion Control Techniques

By Kevin Bryan

Whether the goal is to lose weight or to just stay healthy, keeping healthy dieting habits is the key to success. One method of eating healthy is through portion control. However, portion control doesn’t have to mean just eating a few leaves of lettuce for dinner. Knowing the difference between portions and servings is important because even though they are commonly used interchangeably, the two terms do not always mean the same thing. The amount of food put on the plate is a portion, while a serving is the recommended amount of the food based on guides from the United States Department of Agriculture. The serving sizes are always on the nutrition labels of processed foods. Being aware of size differences between portions and servings may help to reduce caloric intake. There are many techniques to decreasing portion sizes.

  1. Drink more water. According to Dawn Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet, having a large glass of water before eating is an easy way to fill up the stomach before diving into a meal. With a fuller stomach, eating less is a natural consequence. Even when you become hungry hours before a meal, drinking a glass of water may still be the solution. Drinking water can cause the dehydration symptom of stomach growling to go away completely.
  2. Eat more nutrient dense foods. Filling up the plate with nutritious vegetables fills the stomach up in the same way that pastas or meats do; however, the calorie counts are significantly lower. Vegetables have high fiber and water content, so after eating a portion of them, you feel full all the same. Other ways of increasing amounts of vegetables in the meal is adding vegetables as filler for pastas or sandwiches, or even switching out some of the meat in a recipe for mushrooms.
  3. Dine in a fashion that prevents overeating. For meals, use smaller dishes to control portion size. Research has shown that those that people randomly handed a larger bowl would serve themselves 31% more food compared to those handed the smaller bowl. Eating with a smaller utensil slows down the eating process, which may resist the temptation to go for seconds. Eating without any digital distractions also prevents overeating. Becoming distracted by television or gaming cause people to eat more than intended.
  4. Snacking appropriately to reduce portions. Being aware of serving sizes for packaged foods such as chips or dried fruits will help you to consume less calories. Research proves that unawareness of serving sizes cause a person to eat 50% more than those who were aware. Dividing packages of chips or pretzels into smaller ziploc bags for everytime you want a snack will prevent overeating. Eating foods that need to be peeled or cracked are also good for portion control, because eating is slowed. Such foods include oranges and pistachios.

Eating reasonable portion sizes does not mean that you have to starve yourself. Instead, making the right eating choices will decrease your caloric intake without any difference in hunger. Next time when having a meal, try employing the techniques above. They will contribute to you living a healthier lifestyle.



  1. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20405321,00.html#develop-good-eating-out-habits-0
  2. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-curb-your-portion-sizes-2507675


About Kevin Bryan

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