Losing weight is a simple math equation: calories in – calories out = your weight. You need to be in a calorie deficit to see results, which means eating less + moving more every day.
So, when it comes to healthy eating, it’s important to have different strategies in your toolbelt to help manage your portion sizes during each snack + meal.
In this post, I share 13 different portion control hacks that you can use to help manage how many calories you’re eating throughout the day!
1 | Measure once or twice
The first portion control strategy that matters most is understanding how much a serving of whatever you are eating actually is. You only need to measure it 1-2 times before remembering what to dish out for yourself in the future. So, it’s an important strategy for healthy eating portions. Click HERE to read about calorie counting.
2 | Don’t serve family-style
Instead of bringing all the food you cooked to the kitchen table before sitting down for a meal, dish out the plates in your kitchen + don’t allow yourself to go back to grab seconds. Just serve enough to fit the calories you should consume during that meal.
3 | Don’t make extra without having a plan for it
Meaning, cook the amount of food you need. If you are cooking for yourself + one other person, but you make 4 servings, your plan should be to eat those other 2 another night that week. Or, they should be lunch for the next 2 days. If not, you will feel more inclined to grab for seconds, which you want to avoid. Click HERE to read about batch cooking — a great tool for portion control.
- Related: BATCH COOKING: MY METHOD + BEST TIPS
4 | Use smaller bowls/plates
Whether you are eating a meal or snack, opt for the smaller option when it comes to your bowls/plates to maintain portion control. Even using a small drinking glass [like a scotch glass] to eat ice cream out of is great for cutting calories. Click HERE for my entire kitchen plate/bowl set.
5 | Don’t multi-task while eating
The more you focus on just eating when eating, the more mindful you will be about how much you are consuming. So, turn the TV off, put the phone down, step away from work, etc. Just enjoy the food you are eating + take a moment to relax + unwind by yourself or with those you are eating with.
6 | Drink a glass of water before you eat
A lot of times when you think you are “starving” you are either a bit hungry, dehydrated, or both. So, chug some water within 30 minutes before each time you eat. It will fill up your stomach so you feel like you need to eat less to be satisfied. Also, drink it during your meal!
7 | Keep track of your food
When you are trying to focus on portion control, go back to the basics + track your food. It can either be calorie/macro counting or simply writing down the names of the meals/snacks you’re eating on paper or digitally in diary form. It will help you realize how much you are truly consuming + will make you more mindful. Click HERE to read about calorie counting.
8 | Use your hand as guidance
This portion control tip is an oldie, but a goodie. Use your hands to remind yourself of roughly how much to eat. Protein should be the size of your palm, carbs should fill your hands if they’re cupped, veggies should be about the size of your fist, + fat serving [i.e. butter] should be the top half of your thumb.
9 | Portion out your snacks in advance
Buying foods in small-bagged form is usually much more expensive than buying it in bulk. So, save your money, buy the large form, + portion them out in snack-size bags/containers right when you get home from the grocery store so they are in grab-+-go form. Just pouring into a bowl or grabbing right from the bag will usually lead to you eating more than you planned. Click HERE + HERE for 2 posts with lots of healthy snack ideas!
- Related: 25 HEALTHY SNACK IDEAS
10 | Fill half or more of your plate with veggies/fruit
When you are eating a meal, try to fill half of your plate with veggies/fruit to maintain portion control with the higher calorie foods on your plate. The fiber + water in vegetables + fruit will help you feel full longer.
11 | Save the best for last
Instead of diving right into the best part of your meal [probably the fatty/carby part], eat the healthiest options first [salad, veggies, fruit, etc] + fill up on those. Then dig into the other parts of your meal. This will help you not want to go up + grab seconds of the potatoes/burgers halfway through your meal when only veggies are left.
12 | Use muffin + mini muffin baking pans often
Muffin + mini-muffin pans are a great way to make smaller portions of your favorite meals + snacks. You can use them to make egg + bacon bites, mini meatloaves/burgers, healthy cakes/muffins, etc. You have to try THIS avocado chocolate muffin recipe + THIS veggie muffin recipe! Both are incredible + hit the spot.
13 | Ask for half to be wrapped
Let’s chat portion control when you are out to eat at a restaurant. A great portion control tip is to ask for half [or more] of meals to be wrapped when eating out before it even makes it to your table. It will keep you from feeling tempted to eat more than you need to in one sitting!