People tend to try and finish whatever amount of food is on their plate. Want to eat less? Take less food to start with. This pragmatic guide will go over serving size, portion control, and other diet tips.
Eat smaller portions
- All calories matter, so portion sizes count with almost anything you’re eating. However, it may be extra helpful to dole out smaller portions of fast-acting carbs such as mashed potatoes and rice, and even slower-acting foods like whole grain cereal.
- Eating fewer calories is one of the best ways to improve your insulin sensitivity. You’ll do better if lower the glycemic load (GL) of your overall diet, but simply eating less also helps by improving your insulin sensitivity (which ultimately lowers your blood sugar). Eating less will also help you lose weight, which is another key element in preventing insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease.
- So where should you cut back on calories? Everywhere. Carbs are of course a main target, especially high-GL carbs such as rice, sodas, and other sweetened drinks. But so is anything you tend to go overboard on.
- You should make protein a part of every meal, but that doesn’t mean that you should gorge yourself on a one pound porterhouse. 170 grams (six ounces) of a leaner sirloin is plenty.
- Nuts can be a great addition to your diet and an excellent source of fibre and healthy fat, but the details are important. Aim to consume just a small handful at a time. 30 grams (2 tablespoons) of almonds has about 165 calories. If you eat a cup’s worth, you’re taking in more than 800 calories, which is more than you should get from an entire meal!
- Olive oil is great for your heart and your blood sugar, but don’t soak your bread in it. At 119 calories per tablespoon, you won’t want to consume more than 2 tablespoons a day.
Learn what a serving looks like
In an ideal world, you would measure and weigh your food exactly, but this is often time-consuming and impractical. Here are some general guidelines about serving size so that you can make more accurate estimates and track your calories and nutrients properly:
- An 85 gram (3 ounce) serving of cooked meat is the size of a deck of cards. An 85 gram (3 ounce) serving of fish is the size of a checkbook.
- A 30 gram (2 tablespoon) serving of cheese is the size of four dice. A 30 gram (2 tablespoon) serving of sliced cheese is the diameter of a CD.
- A 100 gram (half cup) of pasta or rice is the size of a baseball cut in half. A 250 gram (1 cup) of cold cereal is the size of a baseball.
- 30 millilitres (2 tablespoons) of peanut butter is the size of a Ping-Pong ball.
- 30 millilitres (2 tablespoons) of salad dressing will fill a shot glass.
- A 180 millilitre (3/4 cup) serving of juice is the size of a small yogurt container.
Before you can diet successfully and consume fewer calories, you need to understand the serving sizes and nutritional value of the foods you’re already eating. Use this guide to better understand the serving sizes of foods, the nutrients they contain, and what foods you should consume in moderation. It can seem daunting, but you can definitely do it. Just take it one step at a time.