If you’re like me – when you were growing up you weren’t allowed to leave the dinner table until every last morsel was off your plate. My mom tried to lure me into that mythical, exclusive club known as ‘the clean plate club’. As an adult, I still feel guilty if I don’t finish my food. Combine this with today’s typical restaurant portions – no wonder most people don’t know how much, of what to eat.
On average most restaurant portions have 2-4 times more food than you should eat at one time. And some restaurant may even have more calories than you need to eat in one day – over 2,000. And you probably try to eat it all – after all you have to maintain your membership in the clean plate club. And when you go to a restaurant that serves the right portion – chances are you feel ripped off. Sound familiar?
The key to successful weight loss: Portion Control. Know what you need to eat and how much.
Recommended food portions for dinner
- The recommended portion of meat (protein) is the size of your palm (yes that means bigger for men).
- Non starchy vegetables should take up half of you plate
- Whole grains and starches are usually ½ cup or less. You shouldn’t eat both of these in same meal since these are higher in carbs.
Tips & Tricks for Food Portion Control…
- Eat your meals on salad or kids sized plates (8 inches or less). Studies have confirmed, the bigger our plates/bowls are, the more we eat. (clean plate club anyone?)
- When packing leftovers, don’t just pack all of them into one big container, separate them into a smaller containers with proper proportions. You’ll be less tempted to overeat.
- Buy smaller sizes of some foods if you have trouble controlling intake
- Plan meals for the week to reduce eating out
- Avoid the buffet
- Order 1 entree and split it with your date. Not only will you eat less – you’ll save money.
- Pack up half of your meal to go at the beginning of the meal, not at the end of the meal.
- Plan your meal before getting to the restaurant. Check out the menu online, review the carbohydrates and calories to order with confidence.
- Websites like www.calorieking.com provide nutritional information on many dishes at common restaurants.
Everyday Best Practices
- Drink water before and during a meal,
- Eat slowly and mindfully-taste and savor each bite. Typically, we eat so fast we are not tasting our food and not listening to our bodies telling us we’re full.
- Don’t starve yourself before eating out or attending a dinner party. When you do – you’re more likely to overeat.
- Allow yourself occasional treats in moderation,
- Sleep 7-9 hours a night
- Keep a food log! It’s the best way to to control your portions and manage your weight.
We are a country of excess and the ‘clean plate club‘ is not our friend. So if that feeling of guilt comes over you when you don’t eat the full plate remind yourself “I’ll either waste it, or waist it!” Sorry mom!!