When beginning a weight loss or health journey you start to pay close attention to the foods that you are eating. One thing that you’ll begin to pay close attention to is the amount of food that you are eating throughout the day. Knowing how to estimate portion sizes and being able to control your portions both in and out of the house are great tools for long-term success on your journey!
You do not have to be perfect with portions when you’re outside of the house, but getting as close as you can will help you stay on track and reach your goals faster!
Portion control is difficult when you’re out at a potluck, party, or a buffet-style restaurant. The first thing you can do to help control portion size is to choose smaller dishware. Picking a small plate or bowl will give you less space to fill and therefore you will be consuming less food altogether. Using larger plates can also make food appear smaller and therefore leads us to eat more of a specific item than we anticipated. Sometimes being at these places causes us to eat with our eyes and take serve more food than we actually want or need!
Using a plate as a guide is another tool that can be used whether you’re at home or eating out! Filling half the plate with salad or vegetables is a great place to start. Then focus on filling one quarter with high quality protein and the last quarter with a complex carbohydrate, which will give you a balanced and healthy meal.
When finding yourself with no measuring tools, your hand is a great source. The palm of your hand is a good way to measure your protein source. Eating about one or two palms worth of protein is usually a good estimate for both men and women. To estimate the size of a salad or vegetables, think about using the fist of your hand. One fist is usually a good estimate for women while two fists is usually a good estimate for men. Complex carbohydrates is something you want to be a little extra cautious of when estimating portions! A good serving size for women is about a one-cupped hand portion while a good serving size for men is about two-cupped hand portions.
Many people struggle with portion sizes at restaurants. Restaurant serving sizes are usually 2-3 times bigger than standard serving sizes of what the average person needs. When eating out , you can always ask to split a dish with a friend or family member. If no one is up for splitting that night, ask for a to-go box right away and pack half of your food for the next day. Asking for a child’s portion or the small size of an item is also a great way to help control portions.
Although you may want to be exact when at home with measuring portions, these tips will help you stay on track even when outside the house. The more you practice these habits, the easier it will be to control the amount you are eating outside of the house.