Portion control can be a challenge, especially when going out to eat. All too often, we eat everything that is laid out on the plate in front of us. Unfortunately, obesity is a growing problem where two of every three Americans are overweight, and increased portion sizes may be a contributing factor to this statistic.
Health Risks of Being Overweight
Being overweight may increase the risk of many health problems, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Sleep apnea
- Kidney disease
- Certain types of cancer
What is a portion size?
Portion size means how much of a food you are served or how much you eat. Portion sizes can vary from meal to meal. For example, at home, you may only have about two cups of popcorn, whereas at a movie theater, their portions may be an entire tub of popcorn slathered in butter.
Whether you want to shed a few pounds or just maintain a healthy weight, consuming proper portions is important. Portion control allows you to understand how many calories you are presumably consuming. Instead of mindlessly overindulging, you are eating what your body needs to thrive on.
Tips for Controlling Portion Sizes
If you are trying to lose weight or even just maintain your weight, here are some helpful tips for controlling portion sizes — both at home and while eating out.
Use a smaller plate
One of the best ways to control portion sizes is by using smaller serveware and dishes. Using smaller plates will give the illusion that a smaller portion of food looks bigger, tricking your brain into feeling fuller with less total food.
Use your hands as a serving guide
Weighing your food on a scale multiple times a day can be a hassle, especially when you are not home for a majority of the day. A good approach to measuring your food is by using your hands.
- A serving of protein = 1 palm (~3.4oz)
- A serving of vegetables = 1 fist (~1 cup)
- A serving of carbs = 1 cupped hand (~½-⅔ cup)
- A serving of fats = 1 thumb (~1 tbsp)
Ask for half portions
Restaurants are notorious for serving large portions of food to guests. Most restaurants pack their plates with two to three times the recommended serving size, which results in overeating for many Americans. Some restaurants offer menu items in large and small sizes. If these options aren’t on the menu, ask for a to-go box with your meal and pack half of it away for tomorrow. Some restaurants may even do this for you!
Your overall health and wellness is our top priority. At Summit Medical Clinic, we provide preventive and primary care services to keep your health on track. Our Internal Medicine physicians offer collaborative care of patients with chronic medical illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and thyroid disease, and other common and uncommon medical problems throughout the various stages of their illness. Schedule an appointment by calling (719) 630-1006 or visiting our website.