Tips for controlling portion sizes at home

June 30, 2015

It's easy to overeat without even thinking about it if you're not carefully watching your portion sizes. If you want to keep yourself healthy, there are easy ways to tweak your household habits to prevent bad eating habits before they start. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Tips for controlling portion sizes at home

Get out Mom's china

  • Smaller plates mean you'll naturally eat smaller meals, and plates from the 1930s and 1940s were as small as 12 to 15 centimetres (five to six inches) in diameter.
  • A typical plate today? Twenty-five to 30 centimetres (10 to 12 inches). If you'd rather save the china for special occasions, use salad plates instead and save the dinner plates for company.

Banish the television

  • It's too easy to fall into mindless eating when you're in front of the TV, so move it out of the kitchen or dining room.
  • Another good reason not to watch is that studies show that the more time people spend in front of the television, the more likely they are to be obese.

Hang a mirror near the table

Watching yourself eat makes it much harder to gorge on food or eat too fast. Also, dieters say that looking themselves in the eye helps remind them of their goals.

Set a 30-minute timer

  • Start the timer when you sit down to your meal. If you're about to finish before the 30-minute mark, wait until it goes off before reaching for more.
  • It takes about 20 minutes to feel full after eating, so taking it slowly will allow your brain to catch up to your stomach and turn off the urge to keep eating.

Skip “family style” meals

  • Setting out a heaping plate of spaghetti and meatballs will only tempt you to overindulge, so serve food on individual plates and in moderate portions.
  • An exception is vegetables. Put them out on a platter or in a big bowl and let everyone help themselves.

Put out a plate of raw veggies

  • If your family tends to mill around the table just before dinner is served — or if you yourself feel the need to nibble before the food hits the plates — have carrot sticks, cucumber slices, string beans, cherry tomatoes or any other raw veggies out where everyone can easily reach them.
  • Picking at them can substantially lower your consumption of the more calorie-dense main course.

Leave two bites on your plate

You can save more than 100 calories a day if you don't take those last two bites at lunch and dinner.

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