Most of you find yourselves stuck in a situation of guilt where you have had around 2–3 slices of cake when you decided and promised yourselves not to go for more than a few bites. Do you ever think about the quantity of food that you serve ourselves? Do you serve more or less than required?

"The right amount of portion depends upon an individual’s nutrient needs and calorie requirements."

Portion and serving size are often confused with each other. The serving size is often mentioned at the back of a nutrition label but the portion is the amount of food you actually eat. 

For example, if the serving size on the back of a 100 g packet of 10 biscuits is 30 g, you should ideally be eating 3 biscuits as a single serving. But if you eat the entire packet, then 10 biscuits is your portion size and not 3 biscuits.

Portion control is not only for people who are trying to lose weight. Abiding by a controlled portion is the backbone of good nutrition, keeps your diet balanced and nutritious, helps you make healthier food choices, and adds variety to your diets. It improves your relationship with food by keeping away feelings of guilt, uncomfort, overeating, and loss of control, resulting in disordered eating patterns.

Here are the top 10 tips and tricks to keep your portions a healthy size:

1. Veggies first

While serving yourself a meal, fill half your plate with a good serving of vegetables and divide the other half into two- a quarter for protein and the other quarter for carbohydrates. This will make portion control easier and will also control the amount of carbohydrates that you are taking on your plate.

2. Pay attention to your cutlery

Believe it or not, your bowls, plates, and serving spoons matter a lot when it comes to the amount of food that you eat. You should be mindful about choosing the right kind of cutlery before serving yourselves. 

For example, eating from a bigger plate will increase the quantity of the portions you take but it would be a good idea if you eat a salad or a serving of fruits on a bigger plate. Choosing a smaller bowl and a teaspoon for a scoop of ice-cream or oil would be a smarter choice.

3. Keep yourself hydrated

Drinking water before every meal maintains the hydration in your body, helps you stay full, and also makes sure that you do not overeat.

4. Serve as much as you can eat

Many of you tend to throw away the food that you are unable to finish; instead, you should serve the quantity which you feel you can finish easily and take another helping if required. In case of any leftovers, you can pack and store them for the next day!

5. Restaurants can be tricky

While eating out, restaurants usually serve larger servings. You can ask for a half portion or a kids meal, share the meal with someone, order a starter instead of the main meal and ask for the dressing on the side while ordering for a salad.

6. Use your hands as a portion guide

You can use your hands instead of any measuring tool to determine the portion of the food you need to eat. 

  • Protein-rich foods like pulses and legumes, paneer, chicken, and fish should be 1-palm sized serving for women and 2-palm sized serving for men.

  • Carbohydrate-rich foods like whole grains and starchy vegetables should be 1-cupped hand serving for women and 2-cupped hand size serving for men.

  • Fat-containing foods like nuts and oils should be 1-thumb size serving for women and 2-thumb size serving for men.

  • Vegetable and salad serving should be 1-fist size serving for women and 2-fist size serving for men.

7. Store in but do not eat out of containers

Food packed in containers, when ordered online, is usually meant for a serving of 2–3 people. You must always take out the food on a plate so that you are actually able to see how much you are eating. Eating from a box makes you less aware of the portion sizes and encourages overeating.

8. Writing down what you eat

Not many of you will remember what you ate the previous day and certainly not the little treats like cookies, chocolates, and chips you grab in between. A food diary helps you track and retrospect where you are going wrong and makes you more aware of the quantity and type of food you are eating throughout the day.

9. Mindful eating- till you feel satisfied but not too full

Enjoying your food helps you be in control of how much you are eating. You miss your body’s hunger and fullness signs when you eat in a hurry.

10. Don’t eat with gadgets

Most of your binge-eating happens over your favorite Netflix show or sport or while working late at night. Gadgets distract you and you forget about the quantity of food you keep on eating. Keeping away your gadgets while eating and enjoying the company of family and friends will help you in becoming more mindful and avoid overeating.

Small and consistent efforts to change your habits one at a time, will help you in improving your health gradually. It is important to remember that you do not have to starve yourself to nail portion control. 

Portion control is about fueling the body in the right way and distributing your meals into small and frequent ones instead of eating it all at once.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.