Portion Control

Portion Control

Portion control is one of the biggest contributors to the increasing amount of overweight people in the United States. When most of us sit down to eat we don’t usually think about portion control, but we should. A study done by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research has shown that people consistently eat more food when offered larger sized portions. So portion control is crucial if you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off.

The problem is that over the years our food portions have continued to get larger and larger. In fact, researchers from the American Journal of Public Health measured average servings from restaurants and fast food chains and concluded that muffins were 333% bigger than recommended and cooked pasta exceeded the standard by 480%. The scariest of the findings is that cookies are now seven times the USDA recommended size.

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Portion Control and Diet: How it Works

The first step in successful portion control is learning the correct serving size. This is the amount recommended by government agencies, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department.  

The serving size can typically be found by reading nutritional labels. However, the portion is the amount of food or drink a person chooses to consume. In most cases, the portion eaten is larger than the serving size simply because we don’t know any better or we are not paying attention to the recommended suggestions. Portion control is limiting what you eat and it is being aware of how much food you are actually eating and what calories are in that serving.

Suggestions for Smaller Servings  

Drink More Water

Often times, you think you are hungry but your body is really just thirsty. Try to drink a cup of water and wait 30 minutes before deciding if you really need to eat more.

Measure accurately – For foods and beverages, use tools like measuring cups, tablespoons, teaspoons or a food scale.

Learn to Estimate Serving Sizes – Gauge food portion sizes by estimating serving sizes in comparison to known objects. For example, three ounces of cooked fish, meat or chicken is about the size of a deck of cards. Other easy measurements to gauge include:

                ½ cup is the size of an ice-cream scoop

                1 cup is the size of a tennis ball

                1 ounce of cheese is the size of a domino


Use portion control dishware 
Use smaller plates, bowls, cups and glassware in your kitchen and measure what they hold. You may be surprised to find that a bowl you thought held 8 ounces of soup actually holds 16, meaning you’ve been eating twice what you planned.

Make your own single-serving packs 
Re-portion left overs of your favorite foods such as pasta, rice, and cereal into individual portions in zipper bags or small Tupperware. This way, when you’re in the mood for a snack, you aren’t tempted to over eat.

Add milk before coffee 
Whenever possible, put your fat-free milk, almond milk or coconut milk into the cup before adding the hot beverage to better monitor the amount used.

Measure oil attentively 
This tip is especially important because even the healthier kinds of oil has a lot of calories. Try not to pour oil directly into your cooking pan, but instead measure it in a measuring spoon first.

Control portions when eating out
Eat half of your meal or split it with a friend. If you are eating a salad, always ask for the dressing on the side. You can then control how much dressing is being poured onto your salad.

Eat More Vegetables
Eat more broccoli, bell peppers or asparagus to your meals. Filling up on the essential nutrients that your body really needs will help you to avoid overeating on meats or carbohydrates.
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Listen to your hunger cues
This is especially important. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied or comfortably full. Try to estimate when you are 80% full and stop there instead of making yourself miserably full.

Always remember to consult your primary care physician prior to implementing any dietary or exercise changes. If you need more weight loss assistance contact Dr. Marvin. He is a board certified surgeon who specializes in Bariatric procedures. To learn more, or to make an appointment please call the office at 713-993-7124.

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