How to Successfully Apply Portion Control Skills to the Food You Eat

Portion control is the key to successful weight management. Contrary to popular belief, controlling food portions doesn't necessarily mean eating less food, but rather it means developing an awareness of how much you're eating and the nutritional value of that food. Sticking to one portion at a time helps you attain a healthy balance of nutrients from all the different food groups. When eating out at a restaurant or a party, portion control can also help you limit empty calories, leaving room for more nutritious choices in your day.

How can you determine the proper portions for meals and snacks? It's easy when using these simple guides. Portion control skills are not just for weight loss, but also for reaping the greatest benefit from your daily food intake.


Find Proper Portion Sizes

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Are you eating too much, too little, or just the right amount? Learn how your food portions measure up for a more effective weight-loss program or healthy eating plan. Food tracking apps can sometimes be too tedious for day-to-day healthy eating.

Our portion size guide, paired with your internal hunger cues, can help you figure out how much is enough.


Go Beyond Food Labels to Learn Serving Sizes

If you're using the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods to control your portion sizes, you might not be seeing the whole picture. The serving sizes listed are not necessarily the right amount of food for you. Although this can be a helpful tool, it's still important to look beyond the numbers on the label before diving into your meal.


Measure Food Without a Scale

At times, portion control may require the use of a kitchen scale. These lightweight digital devices make it easier to determine exactly how much you're eating. However, this tool is not always practical or necessary for everyday use.

Learning how to measure portion sizes without a scale can make healthy eating more hassle-free and accessible.


Avoid Food Portion Mistakes

Certain types of foods are easier to accidentally overeat than others. Cereal is one of them (including the "healthy cereals"). This may or may not surprise you since cereal is so crunchy and light, it lends itself to mindless snacking.

Other items on our list may catch you off-guard. Be especially mindful of these deceiving food items.


Buy or Make Portion Control Plates

Specially designed meal kits, dinner plates, glasses, and serving dishes can help simplify portion control. Plenty of products are available on the market, but they're also pretty easy to make yourself. Designing your own portion plates can be a fun project that's educational for the whole family.

Learn more about portion control plates with our handy portion plate guide


Prep Portion-Controlled Meals in Advance

It's not easy to judge the right portion of food when you're hungry and tired. This is the reason people tend to overeat at dinnertime. Preparing portion-controlled meals in advance helps take the guesswork out of healthy eating. Use this portion-controlled meal prep guide to make a week's worth of healthy meals in under an hour.


Get Smart About Salads

Think portion sizes don't matter for salad? Think again! Just like with other meals, it's important to be aware of your salad ingredients and portions. Find out how to make the most of your next salad for optimal nutrition and a good balance of ingredients.


Set up Your Kitchen for Portion Control

The phrase "out of sight, out of mind" can be helpful when it comes to certain snack foods and desserts. Placing hard-to-resist items out of reach in high or low cabinets will give you a chance to think twice before grabbing for them.

With some clever kitchen design tricks, you can make more thoughtful eating choices on a regular basis.


Learn More About Restaurant Portions

Did you know that you're likely to eat less when you sit by a window in a restaurant? It's true! Scientists have discovered a few interesting ways to help you stick to healthier portion sizes when dining out. Checking menu guides before you visit your favorite spot is also a good way to prepare in advance.

Use this comprehensive dining out guide to menus and restaurant nutrition to stay healthy when you're traveling or out with friends.

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