Portion control have you seriously stressed? We get it—figuring out how much you should be eating, and what exactly you should be eating is downright confusing. From fad diets that tell you to restrict your calories to other diets that tell you to load up on fats, there’s no straightforward answer as to how much you should be eating to support a healthy weight and a healthy body.
But, here at FitOn, we’re all about balance. The thing about healthy eating is that it’s not all about calories, and it’s also not about deprivation. You do your best to eat clean to support your health, and the better you eat, the better you feel.
We’re letting you in on our top five favorite portion control hacks to make it easier than ever to fill your plate with nourishing foods while not stressing about calories or macros.
Not All Food is Created Equal
First, before diving into portion control, we need to get serious for a minute—losing weight, eating clean, and just being healthy is SO much more than just calories in, calories out. It’s just plain bogus that as long as you restrict your calories, you can pretty much each whatever you want. Why? Because not all food is created equal.
There’s a huge difference between how that bag of candy is going to affect you as opposed to a nutrient-dense salad full of healthy fat and clean protein. That bag of candy would cause your blood sugar levels to spiral out of control and put you on a roller coaster of emotions and low energy levels. But, that nutrient-packed salad would nourish your body with the fuel it needs to power through your day with stabilized blood sugar and help keep you full until your next meal.
Ok, so now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at five portion control hacks to make healthy eating ten times easier.
If Large Portions Are Your Jam, Eat Like This Instead
#1 Make Your Plate Colorful
Eat like the rainbow! Seriously though, fill your plate with colorful veggies first. If you fill at least half of your plate with fiber-rich vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and your fav dark leafy greens, there will be less room for the carb-heavy stuff like pasta and rice. Plus, a healthy dose of veggies per meal will do your body some good. Now, that’s an easy portion control win!
#2 Steer Clear of Stackable Meals
Stackable what? You know, stackable meals like hamburgers and sandwiches…those meals that you can just keep stacking and stacking. From toppings galore to sodium-packed meats, just say no to stackable options. This will help you keep your portion control in check and prevent you from eating way too much in one sitting without even realizing it.
If you just can’t turn down that hamburger, try ditching the bun and use lettuce leaves instead, and only stack your burger with veggies.
#3 Choose Meals That Require You to Chew, Chew, Chew
A little hack to managing portion control is to choose meals that require a bit more time to eat. We’re talking salads packed full of crunchy veggies like celery, cucumbers, and bell peppers topped with all the fixings (avocado, nuts, seeds). A large crunchy salad like this will take much more time to eat than wolfing down a slice of pizza in under two minutes. Plus, this is also a great way to teach yourself to practice mindfulness while you eat.
Slowing down and really taking time to chew is not only great for portion control, but it’s also great for your digestive system. The more you chew, the easier it will be to digest.
Experts agree that chewing your food 32 times is the magic number (40 for harder to chew foods) to really break down food to help support the very first step of digestion, which happens to be chewing!
#4 Cut Your Food Into Smaller Pieces
While we’re on the topic of chewing, let’s talk about how to cut your food. Cutting your food into smaller pieces is another great portion control hack as it will help encourage you to take smaller bites. When you take smaller bites and really focus on chewing, you’ll give your brain time to catch up to your stomach, allowing it the chance to give you a heads up that it’s time to stop eating when you’re full.
So, if you’re used to eating massive bites of food, try cutting your food into smaller pieces and see how it changes how much and how quickly you eat.
#5 Try a Portion Control Plate
Another really easy portion control hack is to invest in a portion control plate that’s split into different sections. Use the biggest area to fill with veggies, and the two smaller sections to fill with your healthy fats (like salmon, avocado, eggs), and protein.
These plates really give you a visual of how much we really should be eating in one sitting, and the more you use them, the better you will be at making smart portion control choices.
Become a Portion Control Expert
While portion control can be hard at first, especially because we are so used to eating large American sized portions all the time, it doesn’t have to be super complicated! We just have to reframe how we think about our portions and use some hacks to make sure we are filling up on all the nutritional goodness first.
With a little practice, you will quickly become a portion control expert, moving in the direction of crushing all of your nutrition goals.