Portion Control: The Key to Diet Success
Hooray for chocolate, pizza, and beer!
Shocked? Don’t be. We eat them too! It’s really OK to indulge in your favorite foods now and then. Maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t mean completely denying yourself the things you love. Come on, we’re women and we must have chocolate occasionally. It’s in our DNA. You can also have mashed potatoes from time to time and a taco chip when the mood hits you. The key is to keep your portions small and avoid bingeing once you take that first delicious bite. Think of it this way: You can have a scoop of ice cream, but you can’t stand in the kitchen clutching a soup spoon for dear life and inhale the entire gallon.
The word of the day is moderation. Because when you’re partaking of your favorite sinful foods, a little goes a long way. It’s simple: Bigger portions contain more calories than smaller portions. And more calories mean a bigger caboose! If you’re confused about what a proper portion size is, you’re not alone. Here’s an easy way to think about portion sizes:
What’s a Portion?
One serving of protein = the size of your palm
One serving of green vegetables = two fists
One serving of starchy items such as potatoes = one tightly clinched fist
1 teaspoon salad dressing = poker chip
1 teaspoon margarine/spreads = 1 die
1 tablespoon mayonnaise, oils, dips = thumb tip
These tips work well for creating properly proportioned meals, but if you’re trying to determine what constitutes a healthy portion of a prepacked goody like Oreos or Twizzlers, flip the package over. It’ll tell you how many treats are in a serving and how many calories that makes. For instance, five Oreos contain about 250 calories, and that’s a reasonable treat.
Practicing Portion Control at Home
Here are some habits to get into to make portion control natural:
- Use a smaller dish. The smaller your dish, the larger your meal will appear.
- Use sectioned paper plates. Put your vegetable in the big section and your protein and starch in the small sections. You also don’t have to wash them!
- Eat protein first. If you’re still hungry after eating the protein portion of your meal, eat a little extra of your fibrous carbohydrates such as carrots and broccoli.
- Don’t go back for seconds! One and done.
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