How much we eat can be as important as what we eat. But when it comes to portion sizes, it can feel like the world is working against us. Restaurant servings for one can be enough for a family to share. Even the plates we use at home have gotten bigger!
Luckily you can retrain your eyes ― and your stomach ― to recognize what “enough” looks and feels like.
1. Balance Your Plate
A Balanced Plate has three types of food on it: non-starchy veggies, lean proteins, and carbs. It may also include a little healthy fat.
Start with a 9-inch plate. Measure your usual plates and see if they’re already 9 inches across. If they’re too big, try using any smaller plates you have, or simply fill your regular plates to the 9-inch mark.
Try to make healthy choices for each category!
Non-Starchy Veggies = half of your plate
- Some tasty options are spinach, carrots, bok choy, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, and collard greens. But there are many more! Load up on your favorites.
Proteins = a quarter of your plate
- Fish, eggs, skinless poultry, low-fat part-skim cheese, tofu, lean meat, and beans are all great sources of lean protein.
Carbs = another quarter of your plate
- This could include whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pastas and breads, and oats.
- You can also choose starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, peas, corn, and winter squash.
- There are also carb-rich dairy items like plain Greek yogurt, cow’s milk, or milk alternatives.
- Or you might like fruit, such as apples, pears, or berries. Just remember that carb sources can raise your blood sugar. For people with diabetes, enjoy your carbs in small portions.
Healthy Fats = just a bit
- Enjoy small portions of nuts, extra-virgin olive oil, or avocado for a little extra flavor ― and more nutrients.
2. Produce + Protein Snacks
Having a snack between meals can make you less hungry during the day. This will also keep you from eating too much at meals. The best time for a snack is when you’re actually hungry, not when you’re bored or stressed! Choose a snack made up of both produce and protein, like celery sticks and peanut butter or red bell pepper slices and a string cheese stick.
3. Perfect Portion Sizes, Any Time
Measuring food is a great way to know how much you’re really eating. But what about when you’re away from your kitchen and don’t have a food scale or measuring cups? Just use your hands!