by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND Senior Director, Global Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife
The mix of fluctuating temperatures from warm to rainy is in full swing, and as we celebrate Nutrition Month in the Philippines, it is important to take a moment to reflect on our eating habits. Although we may not experience the cold winters that occur in other countries, we can still face challenges when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Filipinos tend to indulge in savory dishes and delicious foods these days which can lead to potential weight gain. But, fear not! With plenty of delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables available locally, it provides a perfect opportunity to embrace healthier eating habits. Remember, portion control is just as important as the nutritious foods we include on our plates!
If you’re looking to lose weight, portion control is a great way to help you monitor how much you’re eating by controlling your calories. Remember, a portion is the amount of food you put on your plate, while a serving is the exact amount of food. The idea is to understand what your body needs and only eat at that level. Often, we overeat because we feel like we have to finish everything on our plate or restaurants have predetermined giant portions, which leads to weight gain.
The way we serve and plate our food greatly influences how much we eat. If you eat a healthy diet, you might think that overeating is difficult. But many people who fill their plates with healthy foods actually struggle with their weight because they just eat too much.
In fact, according to a meta-analysis published in Obesity Research and Clinical Practicethe use of controlled plates on the part of the study subjects resulted in a significant reduction in body weight, body mass index, and waist circumference.
8 Practical Tips to Help You Control Your Portions
The idea that “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” really applies here. When you’re loading your plate, you’re relying on what you see to determine your portion, which is often more than you can – or should – eat.
And, as already mentioned, there is a difference between a “service” and a “portion”. Serving sizes are what you see on the nutrition facts panel on food packages – but that may or may not reflect the amount you eat. We are programmed to finish whatever is put in front of us, whether it is big or small. That’s your “portion.” And, usually, the only way you know you’re done eating is when the empty plate tells you, “I’m done.”
Here are some habits that will help you with portion control when serving and plating your meals:
1. Choose smaller serving containers.
From soup to nuts, any dish served from a large container can inspire you to eat it. According to University of Cambridge, people consume more food and drink when offered larger portions, packages, or dishes than smaller versions. So, to manage your portions, try serving from a smaller bowl or pot.
2. Choose smaller tools.
You will serve yourself better if you use a large spoon than you will from a smaller one, so be aware of how much you put on your plate. “Just one scoop” of anything can add up fast when the scoop is the size of a shovel.
3. Consider the size of your plates.
If you use a smaller plate, it looks like it has more food – which means your eyes are telling you that this plate of food is more filling. So, if you’re trying to cut calories by cutting portion sizes, cut your plate size too.
4. Consider the height and width of your drinking glass.
If you’re trying to limit your intake of liquid calories, consider the size and shape of the glass you’re using. Long skinny glasses seem to hold in more than short, wide glasses – fooling your eyes into thinking your stomach will look bigger.
5. Put the plate in the kitchen instead of on the table.
Serving the meal family style makes it easy for everyone to help themselves, so it’s not a good idea if you’re trying to control portions. With serving dishes at the table, it is very easy to have “one more spoon.” Instead, share your food in the kitchen. The only serving dishes you should put on the table are those that hold low-calorie vegetables and salads.
6. Consider the color of the plate.
I’m not suggesting you go out and buy new plates, but remember that the color of your plate affects your ability to visualize how much you’re eating. If there is a big difference between the color of the food and the color of the plate – picture a dark square chocolate cake on a bright white plate – it’s easier to visualize the part, which makes it easier to control how much you eat.
7. Eat low-calorie foods first.
When you’re really hungry and you serve yourself a plate of food, you’re likely to serve yourself more of the highest-calorie foods available, and you’re also likely to dig into them. first once you sit down to eat, that means you’ll be full of high-calorie foods first!
If you feel this way, try digging into your salad or vegetables first – that way, you’ll start filling up on the lowest-calorie items first, leaving less room for the heavier items. .
8. Use your plate as a guide.
Your plate can also serve as a guide for how to portion out the ingredients in your meal. The recommendations below are rough approximations because each person has unique dietary needs, but they can be a useful guide – especially if you’re eating out at a restaurant.
- Vegetables or salad: about ½ of your plate
- Protein: about ¼ of your plate
- Complex Carbs (like whole grains and starchy vegetables): about ¼ of your plate
To eat outtry to keep track of these factors and see how they influence your eating habits.
For more information, visit www.IamHerbalife.com