Portion sizes are so important when trying to keep a healthy diet. Misjudging portion sizes can lead to us consuming a lot more than we actually need. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that we are overeating because of the way food is packaged, for example; snacking on a super-sized bag of crisps or chocolate. Restaurants and takeaways are the number one culprits of serving much larger portions than we need, which can also lead to mindless eating from confusing external cues and the social environment. These factors can make it difficult for you to know what the right portion size is therefore, it’s important to be aware of how much you’re eating in order to make some simple changes. Of course, everyone is different, and your energy needs are unique to you, but here are 5 Top Ways to be Mindful About Your Portion Size.
1. Use a smaller plate or bowl
Regardless of the size of the plate, the majority of people tend to eat nearly all of the food that they are served. By using a smaller plate, you will automatically eat less and may also feel just as satisfied as if your plate was larger. You may also feel comfortably full rather than uncomfortably full, from trying to finish your meal even when your body was already satisfied.
2. Use your hands to measure portion size
Consume two palm sizes of protein a day, one thumb size is the recommended portion of fats such as peanut butter/oil, one-cupped hand of complex carbs per meal and two-cupped hands of vegetables per meal is also recommended.
3. Practice mindful eating
Question: am I really this hungry? Why am I eating this? Be vigilant when it comes to eating. Listen to your body, it has mechanisms telling you to stop eating and these are called your hunger and satiety cues! These are often overridden by our loud, busy world, so taking time to be in the present moment may help you to reconnect.
4. Question yourself at each meal
Is there a good source of protein? Have I got enough fruit and vegetables? Is my plate colourful? Can I choose a healthier source of carbohydrate (whole grains instead of processed)? Have I got some healthy fat: ie., avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil etc? These questions will help you be aware of how balanced your meal is and when you’ve been doing this for a while it will become a habit. Tip #2 above will also help with this.
5. Be aware of snacking and grazing!
Are you snacking out of boredom? Is there a healthier choice I could make when snacking? Do I graze on my kids’ leftover food in the office? Try and think of your daily eating as six-mini meals a day rather than three big meals and a couple of snacks. This way you can adjust your portions and think of each snack as a ‘mini meal’ which can include each of the macronutrients, giving your body what it needs.
Being mindful about your portions isn’t just about the number of calories you consume, it’s about nourishing your body and giving your it the fuel and energy to live a happy, healthy life enabling you to tap your potential. Remember food = fuel, so ask yourself: What is the purpose of food? What does my body need? It’s time we bring eating back under our control and be aware of the essential purpose of food. It’s a very powerful practice to bring yourself back to your clear intentions when making a food choice, and hopefully, the tips given in this article can encourage just that. What has worked for you regarding portion sizes? Let us know below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. (Check out these other motivational-mindset articles too!)