3 tricks for limiting portion sizes at restaurants

The sights, smells and sounds of a restaurant might tempt you to eat more than you would at home, but you can stop overeating before it starts if you just control your portion sizes. Here are three tricks to help you do this.

3 tricks for limiting portion sizes at restaurants

1. Look for key words

  •  A "queen" or "junior" cut of prime rib, for example, is about 125 grams (four ounces) less beef than a full cut.
  • "Half-portions" are smaller-size versions of very filling entrées (like pastas or rice dishes) and are usually eaten as appetizers.
  • Dishes on "senior" menus are meant for senior citizens and are priced at a discount but are also usually smaller than full-sized portions.

2. For steak, order by weight

Unlike just about any other type of restaurant, steakhouses are specific about the weight of their portions — you can get the 225-gram (eight-ounce) filet, or the 225-gram (12-ounce) sirloin, for example.

This is both good news and bad for people watching their portion sizes.

  • It's good news because you know how much meat you're getting, but bad news because even the smallest portion will be bigger than the recommended 75 to 110 grams (three or four ounces).
  • Pick the smallest boneless steak (so the weight of the bone is not factored in) on the menu, and ask that a portion of it be wrapped up immediately.

3. Visualize proper portions

If you've practised portion control at home, it should be just as easy to do at a restaurant.

  • A serving of meat (about 75 grams, or three ounces) should be the size of a deck of cards, and a serving of pasta is 125 grams (half a cup), about half the size of a baseball, if you're having it as a side dish and twice that if it's your main course.
  • If your entrée arrives and your meat takes up half the plate, you'll know to cut it in half and take the rest home or give it to a friend who's dining with you.

Dining out

Eating well and maintaining a healthy weight is an important aspect of controlling diabetes. With these three tricks, it can be easier to control your meal portion sizes, even in the tempting environment of your favourite restaurant.

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