10 ways to keep your portions under control

By: Linda Gassenheimer

Author: Canadian Living


10 ways to keep your portions under control

By: Linda Gassenheimer
You know you should eat smaller portions and be a healthy weight. But it can be difficult. We buy many different foods and eat in many different places, each with its own temptations. Here are some tips to help you stick to your ideal portions whatever the situation.

Eat high quality, low quantity
Real food with great flavour is more satisfying than diet or convenience foods that are filled with chemicals. You'll feel fuller and won't reach for the cookie jar 10 minutes after you've eaten.

Make time to eat
It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you're full. Put your fork down between bits. This will give you time to really taste and enjoy your food.

Shut the TV or computer
Watching the TV or working on the computer while you're eating is a sure-fire way of expanding your waistline. Your plate might be clean before you realize that you've eaten a meal.

Have a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon
The ideal meal plan is to have three balanced meals and two snacks a day. About 1 oz (28g) of either almonds, pecans, or walnuts, a 1/2-cup (123g) nonfat yogurt, or a helping of raw vegetables such as celery, carrots, broccoli or cauliflower florets all make great snacks.

Eat as a family
Try to sit down to dinner as a family. The focus on conversation and the day's events helps you relax and savour your dinner.

Portion out your snack foods
For example, divide a 10oz (283g) package of nuts into 10 small plastic bags. Make sure you only eat one bag at a sitting, and put the rest away where you can't see them.

Don't eat out of the bag or container
Take the food out of the bag or container and put it in a bowl. That way you can see exactly how much you're eating.

Eat foods that are filling
Eating more vegetables with your meal will help fill you up on good-for-you food and will stop you grabbing for some junk food half an hour later.

Watch the extras at parties
Watch the hors d'oeuvres and alcohol as they add unnecessary calories. Start with a  diet soft drink or sparkling water, as alcohol increases your appetite. Space out the passed hors d'oeuvres and have two to three only. Don't stand by the buffet table and talk with a friend. Before you know it, you'll have downed 500 calories or more.

At the supermarket
Don't shop on an empty stomach. Make a list of exactly what you need and stick to it. Buy enough vegetables to last a week. Avoid the bargain – buying large-size packages isn't a bargain if they cost you a new pair of pants.

Start young and give your children good habits
Make it a rule that they don't eat straight from the container. Instead, measure out their portion. And gather around the table for family mealtimes. Everyone will enjoy their meal more and feel satisfied for longer.

Read more:
Healthy snacks on the go
Pesticides and your health: How to cut your exposure
10 bad habits that can sabotage weight loss

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Excerpted from The Portion Plan by Linda Gassenheimer. Excerpted with permission from Dorling Kindersley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.
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10 ways to keep your portions under control