Portion Control Balance

Portion control is something we struggle with constantly in our culture.  I read an article last week about Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) urging the USDA to improve portion size information on food labels.  Basically, their argument is that the portions on labels in no way represent the way American’s eat and are therefore unhelpful.

What do you do to keep portions under control?  Do you have a trick or tip you can share?

Today, I received an email from a Weight Watcher’s at Work meeting coordinator and she included some very helpful tips from Weight Watchers that I thought I would share.  It has some very specific, helpful tips for keeping portions under control, and in balance.

Food Q&A: Portion Control 101
Learn some tips and tricks for good portion control – Article By: Leslie Fink, MS, RD

Need ideas for coping with restaurant buffets? Want some good snack ideas? In our Q&A series, WeightWatchers.com nutritionist and food editor Leslie Fink, MS, RD, answers readers’ questions about food, nutrition and weight loss.

Q: I find it hard to limit myself to healthy portion sizes at home and on the go. For example, I tend to lose control with sweets. How can I eat a proper amount of food?
A: First and foremost: Limit your exposure to tempting foods.
In other words, don’t sit down with a quart of ice cream and only plan on eating half a cup. Instead, put a half cup into a small bowl and put the rest in the freezer so you can’t keep dipping your spoon in for more.
Consider buying single-serve items like ice cream sandwiches or bars. But if having any ice cream in the house is too tempting, go to the store and purchase a kiddie cup when you scream for ice cream.

Try these other portion-control tips:
1. Don’t leave a half-eaten birthday cake sitting on your kitchen counter. Wrap up cake and cookies and send them home with your guests.
2. Doggie-bag it at restaurants. Their portions can sometimes be extra large. Ask that half of your meal be wrapped up to take home.
3. Consider ordering kiddie-sized meals at fast-food restaurants. You may have to make up a lie about a child waiting for you in the car but it’s a small price to pay for “built-in” portion control.
4. Seek out appetizers and side dishes at restaurants that serve gargantuan entrees. Order two of the smaller dishes for a more reasonably sized meal.
5. Minimize bargain temptations. If you buy big tubs or bags of snack foods to save money, store them on a high shelf so they’re not within arm’s reach. Or, immediately divide them into single serve portions and stash them away in a hard-to-reach place.
6. Learn to eyeball portion sizes, so it becomes second nature. Three ounces of chicken, for instance, equals the size of a deck of cards or your palm.
7. Make your own “frozen” dinners. When recipes yield extra servings, store the leftovers in single serve containers for portion-controlled meals later on, or lunch at work.
8. Retire your serving platters. If half a tray of lasagna stares you in the face while you eat dinner, you may be more likely to reach for seconds. Instead, serve yourself a portion and put the rest away. You can always go back for more, but this way, you may be less likely to.
9. Stock up on smaller plates. A half-empty 10-inch dinner plate spells deprivation; a salad plate filled to the edge seems like a huge meal.
10. Eat slowly! Research suggests that it takes approximately 20 minutes for your body to know that it’s full. If you gobble down your food, seconds will be much more tempting.

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