January 16, 2014 – So many people struggle with losing or maintaining weight. Oftentimes, though, the culprit isn’t necessarily what you are eating, but how much. When dining out, restaurants often serve larger portion sizes than are recommended by the USDA. At home, many of us don’t realize the importance of reading food labels or know how to measure out the right amount of a recipe.
It may take some practice to become a better judge of serving sizes and portions, but the more you practice, the more control you have over how much food you eat, which is the key to weight control. Below are some tips and tricks to help get you started:
Follow MyPlate guidelines. According to the USDA’s MyPlate, 1/4 of your plate should be dedicated to lean protein, 1/4 to carbohydrates, and1/2 fruits or vegetables. Think 3-6 ounces of lean chicken breast (about the size of a deck of cards), 1/2 cup cooked brown rice (about the size of a tennis ball), and 1 cup salad greens or steamed broccoli (about the size of a baseball).
Add more vegetables to a meal. Start with a broth-based vegetable soup or a salad with light dressing. Serve your entrée with double vegetables, rather than double pasta or rice. The vegetables will make you feel full with fewer calories – the natural way to find your stopping place.
What’s your trick to measuring food portions? Tell us in the comments!
Mary Donkersloot is a nutritionist and has a private practice in Beverly Hills, CA, where she has helped individuals with their nutrition-related issues for more than 20 years. Mary is the author of three books, including Quick and Healthy Eating at Home and On the Go . Learn more about Mary at marydonkersloot.com.