1) The Unit Rule: The bigger the container, the more we eat. According to research at the University of Pennsylvania, people eat in units, such as a sandwich, a cookie, a plate of food, a bag of chips, a slice of pizza. Today, these units are jumbo burgers, bigger plates, and muffins the size of small cakes. One way to overcome this problem is to request a half portion and have it served on a salad plate, instead of a dinner plate. Also, skip the “value” meals and “economy-sized” bags of munchies, share a small bag of candy at the theater instead of having a large bag all to yourself, get used to leaving food on your plate, and order a kid’s hamburger instead of the Big Mac.
2) Split an Entree. Order an entree to share, then order side salads and soups to round out the meal.
3) Attitude Adjustment. In the past, eating out was a special occasion. Today we average almost 4 meals a week away from home and can no longer think of these meals as a license to throw all caution to the wind. You must consider restaurant fare as part of your healthy way of eating. Better yet, save fast-food meals for a once-a-month special occasion, not an everyday routine.
4) Get Real. People always, always underestimate how much they eat, especially when it comes to grains, meat, and fast food, by up to 700 calories a day. To get real about portions, take one week, buy a scale and a measuring cup, and learn what a real portion should look like. For example,
Meat, chicken, fish…….. 3 ounces or the size of a deck of cards or the palm of a woman’s hand
pasta, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, cooked vegetables…… 1 /2 cup or the size of your fist or a tennis ball
Bagel or muffin…..1 ounce or the size of a ping pong ball
cheese……………1 ounce or the size of a woman’s thumb
butter, oil, margarine……..1 teaspoon or the size of a stamp
salad dressing………………2 tablespoons or the size of a standard ice cube
Raw vegetables……………1 cup or the size of a baseball
5) Load Up on Vegies: You don’t have to eat less to downsize portions, just eat better. It’s not bigger portions that cause weight problems, it’s bigger portions of foods high in fat, sugar, and calories. Help yourself to buckets of vegetables, broth-based soups, fruits, whole grains, soymilk, and other real foods high in water and fiber and you fill up before you fill out. Photo Credit: marsmet tallahassee via Compfight