Restaurant portions in the U.S. are notoriously large. While it’s nice to know you’re getting your money’s worth, consuming large portions can be the equivalent to eating all of your daily calories in one meal.
We overindulge at home as well. Changing your lifestyle isn’t about starving yourself and straddling the fence between satiation and constant hunger, but we need to get smart about what and how much we put on our plates and into our bodies.
Follow these tips to help you control your portions and avoid false hunger at home and when you eat out.
Sometimes, hunger is thirst in disguise. If you ignore the signs of thirst for more than a few hours, your body starts to send out ravenous hunger signals instead which could have you finishing that oversized portion instead of quenching your thirst.
Have a glass of water before and during your meal. Dehydration can be mistaken for hunger. Drinking a glass of water before your meal may fill you up before your plate reaches the table.
When eating out, split your meal. No one should eat the amount of food most restaurants serve in one sitting. Splitting a meal saves money and calories. When you eat solo, ask for a to-go container with your meal so you can box half of it up before you start eating.
Use a salad plate rather than a dinner plate to reduce the risk of overeating. If you fill a salad plate, you still won’t consume as many calories as you would if you filled a dinner plate. A lot of people were raised with the “clean plate” notion that they had to eat every item on their plate. Using a smaller setting allows you to finish the plate without eating too large of a portion.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Leave the extra servings in the kitchen instead of on the dining room table to keep you from mindlessly helping yourself to seconds or thirds. Leave snacks out of sight. Seeing food can trick your brain into thinking you’re hungry even when you’re not.
Serve ‘Em Up
If you’re eating chips and salsa or veggies and hummus, put a couple of tablespoons of the salsa or hummus in a small bowl and add a few chips or veggies. This gives you more control over serving size than if you eat straight from the package.
If you’re on a time crunch, sometimes you inhale your food so quickly that you barely remember what you’ve eaten. This trend continues even when there’s no reason to eat fast. When you eat fast, you do not pay attention to your body’s signals that you’re full. Chew your food slowly and put your fork down between bites.
Filling half of your plate with veggies means there is less room for foods you should be limiting. Fill the other half with whole grains and lean proteins for a complete meal that will fill you up proportionately.
Snacking between meals is fine if you choose the right snacks. Pick a protein, fiber, and carbohydrate. An apple with peanut butter or a whole grain cracker with low-fat cheese will fill you up better than chips and dip or cookies.
Be mindful of your choices and listen to what your body is telling you to keep your portions in control. Need some help figuring out how to follow these tips? Our nutrition experts are on the job! Contact us today, and we can help you set up a nutrition plan that will help you get on the right track.