Portion size is a lynchpin when it comes to changing body composition.
By not controlling portions, your ‘clean-eating’ intentions will be at the mercy of your lifestyle.
Here are 6 proactive steps to managing portions, using common-sense methods that work every time.
1. USE YOUR HANDS FOR TAILORED PORTION SIZE
Precision Nutrition have come up with
Here’s a handy guide that shows you how to portion protein, vegetables and good fats for each meal, using your hands.
2. USE SMALLER PLATES
According to a Cornell University study, space surrounding a portion of food on a plate gives the impression of eating less, leading to feeling less full.
By using a smaller plate, the portion looks larger, and psychologically the consumer feels fuller due to the perceived larger portion.
So break out the kid’s plates, your goals will reflect it.
3. EAT UNTIL YOU ARE 80% FULL
This is a very effective way to keep track of your consumption by listening to your body.
As you eat, ask yourself this simple question:
On a scale of 1-10, how hungry am I?
‘10’ means you are ready to eat your own hand, and ‘0’ means you can’t eat another morsel. The key to successful portion control is stop eating when you get to ‘2’ on the “hunger scale”.
4. BATCH PREPARE
One of the best ways to control portions is to have them ready in advance. This insulates you from lifestyle issues, making your portion sizes easier to manage.
A typical example of life making portion control difficult is when you work long hours. This throws you off a regular eating regime, in which case your blood sugar can drop due to long breaks in food consumption.
When your blood sugar drops three things happen:
- You eat faster
- Because you eat faster, your body doesn’t have time to tell your brain that you are full, and you overeat (your body needs 20 minutes to tell your brain that you have eaten enough food), and
- You become ‘less discriminating’ in what you consume (you are more prone to making bad choices due to hunger).
By preparing portioned meals in advance, you have food ready to consume, as opposed to making decisions under duress. This makes it easier to control portions because your pre-made choices are measured and as importantly, at hand.
It’s a good idea to book in your batch-cooking using one of the following options:
Night before: before you go to bed, prep your meals for the next day according to the portion control guide. You will wake up one step ahead.
Even if you plan on having a warm evening meal, by prepping your veggies and making sure you have everything set to cook (i.e. put your spices together etc.) you will be more inclined to make and consume a meal that is ‘mostly’ ready.
In the morning: if you are a morning person, taking a few moments in the morning to prepare all your food for the day will save you time and agro.
Weekend appointment (most popular): plan your recipes in advance, get your ingredients ready, and then batch-cook your food for the next few days. You’ll be organised, and you’ll save tons of time.
5. PRE-PORTION MEALS USING TUPPERWARE
By packaging meals in portion sizes using Tupperware, you limit yourself to what’s in front of you, as opposed to leaving yourself open to potentially overeating.
You also make your healthy eating portable, as having healthy food near your desk is as important as having it at home.
6. ORDER SMALLER DISHES WHEN EATING OUT
Sometimes restaurant portions are much larger than they need to be for you.
If you eat out on a regular basis, try ordering a starter with a side.
By ordering a starter with a side, you control the size of the portion you are receiving. You can still make sure you are getting the right macronutrients (i.e. protein, good fats and carbohydrates), you just won’t have the volume that comes with a main or the pressure associated with eating it all.
You can still enjoy an excellent meal out, only you control the portion size, not the restaurant.
To learn more about healthy eating habits to achieve your fitness goals, contact James Staring, a leading personal trainer in Clapham, London.
ABOUT JAMES STARING
James Staring is a personal trainer based in Clapham, London. His methods have featured in publications such as Your Fitness, Hello, Healthy, Daily Mail, Closer, and many more. After giving up smoking and entering the fitness industry in 2009, James has focused on his passion to help others transform their health and fitness. However, James is convinced that most people struggle so much more than they need to in an effort to improve their fitness. Through his company, Fit to Last, which he runs with his partner, Ali Page – James has helped hundreds of men and women make small adjustments in their daily habits to transform their fitness and to love how they look and feel.James focuses on building the best version of you and inspiring you to new levels of health and fitness – regardless of your current ability or age. James is always keen to share the tools he uses to assist others in achieving their goals and has featured in publications such as Your Fitness, Healthy and Hello! magazines.