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Portion control tips
Body Works Fitness Tips


Community Columnist

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Tips For Portion Control

1. Forget Supersizing

In an attempt to give the customer some bang for their buck, restaurants and fast food chains often offer ridiculously large portions of often high-fat, high- calorie food. For instance, if you were to order the Fajita Steak Quesadillas with guacamole at a Chili's restaurant, you would be ingesting 2020 calories -- more calories than you should have all day! There are solutions to this dining-out dilemma; order an appetizer or kid's meal to keep your portion size in check or ask for a doggie bag with your entree and put half away for another meal as soon as you're served.

2. Soup or Salad

One way to control how much you eat is to curb your appetite before you dig into a big meal. Try starting each meal with a course that will fill you up a bit, but while ingesting only a few calories. Munch on a salad or vegetables and no-fat dressing before you start your main course. Another option is to begin the meal with some clear broth which you could also add veggies to. Have a glass of water or tea five minutes before you eat, and fill up a little more while making headway on the eight glasses a day you should be having.

3. Chew on This

Chewing your food slowly and savoring each bite is an enjoyable way to keep yourself from eating more than you realize. And always wait 20 minutes before you go for seconds -- that's how long it takes your body to realize that it is full. Make sure to stay away from the computer or television, and try to engage in conversation while you have your meals. It will take you longer to eat, and make the time more satisfying. Another easy way to slow down your consumption -- eat with chopsticks!

4. Ditch the Deep Dish

Recent studies have shown that people will often eat much or all of what is put in front of them regardless of how much it is or how hungry they are. If you're a victim of empty plate syndrome, you may want to clean out your china cabinet. Eating from small bowls, glasses and plates makes you less likely to overeat. One helpful hint is to use coffee cups rather than large bowls when eating something such as ice cream or cereal. Never eat directly from the bag or the box, and try storing leftovers by dividing them into single serving containers.

5. Visual Aid

It may be difficult remembering how much of what is OK to eat or determining whether what is on your plate is a proper serving size. Learning what the healthful serving sizes are for varying foods and being able to remember them is an important step to successful portion control. For instance, a bagel should be no larger than a compact disc, and a serving of chocolate should not exceed the size of a package of dental floss. Visualize these comparisons the next time you eat, and if your portion seems too large, save some for later.