Top 10 Habits to Improve Your Portions

by | Sep 19, 2021

Top Ways to Eat Less and Nourish More

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that the single most important thing you have to do is to eat smaller portions. Simply put – eat less. You can work out until you pass out, but, like it or not, weight loss happens usually in the kitchen, not in the gym.

So you need to shrink your portions. Simple enough, right? 

Not always.

We are bombarded with ads and the allure of extra large everything. Not to mention the larger sizes at fast food chains are usually a better monetary value so we feel like we’re getting more value.

So, how do you shrink your portion sizes? Beyond the tried and true methods of using smaller plates and eating more veggies?


Here are Ten Tips to Help Shrink Your Portions

  1. Take a break. When you finish your meal, push your plate away and take ten minutes to have a conversation before you assess whether you are still hungry and need to eat more. More often than not you won’t head back to the kitchen for seconds if you give yourself a few minutes to digest.


  1. Screw the clean plate club. Many of us heard all about the starving children while we were growing up. We were encouraged to be part of the “Clean Plate Club” but as a grown up that really means part of the “Over-full Club.” DON’T eat when you aren’t hungry. Don’t be afraid to leave some food behind.


  1. Pack up the kitchen BEFORE you sit down. This one can get a little tricky between timing your meal to the table and getting to it before it’s cold but try packing up your leftovers before you sit down to eat. When food is sitting on the kitchen counter calling your name, it’s much harder to resist a second helping than if you need to get it out of the fridge and reheat it.


  1. Never eat from a package! When you are trying to shrink your portions you have to know how much you are eating. Take a portion of food and put it in a bowl or mug. Sticking your hand in the bag or spooning up ice cream from the carton often causes us to eat a whole lot more than we planned (or were even hungry for).


  1. Carbs are a side! Whether it’s thrift or habit, we all tend to use starch as a base for meals. Pasta, potatoes, and rice should not be the center of your meal. Shrink your portions by keeping in mind that 1/2 cup of rice or pasta is a serving. Carbs are a side. Make veggies the star of your plate.


  1. Single servings are your friend. If you want to eat something that doesn’t fall into the “Healthy Food” category, consider single servings. Purchase prepackaged individual servings and limit yourself to one. If you want a cookie, stop at the bakery and buy ONE. You can’t eat a dozen if you don’t have a dozen to eat. Simple math.


  1. Finish fruity! Retrain your taste buds to crave something fruity at the end of a meal. After a few weeks of finishing a meal with fruit you should start to find the craving for dessert after every meal begins to subside. Fruit is the sweet treat that won’t leave you feeling extra full.


  1. Hydrate. If you want to eat less, drink more. Water that is. This tip is an oldie but a goodie. When we’re fully hydrated throughout the day, we’re less likely to reach for snacks to satisfy our thirst.


  1. Tight pants. Wear your skinny jeans out to dinner. Workout pants say, “Hey! You want that second helping? Go for it! I’m stretchy! I can take it!” Your skinny jeans, on the other hand, say, “Sweet Mary put down your fork. I’m about to burst.” Listen to your pants, my friend. And no cheating by unbuttoning the top button! 😉


  1. Ambience. A meal should be a lovely sensory experience. You will be more mindful of your serving sizes when you eat off of a pretty plate that contrasts well with your food, in an uncluttered space, free of distractions. Studies show that we eat more when they are distracted. So stop watching TV or reading while you eat and focus on the task at hand. 


Changing the way you eat takes some dedication. And it takes courage. And it takes a willingness to try doing things differently.


Steps to Eliminate Portion Distortion

Let yourself be creative. Make like a pre-schooler and share. Half a bag of chips, after all, can taste just as good as a whole bag. Generosity might be the key to shrinking your portions.

Or maybe you eat out a lot. Have an appetizer as your dinner entree. Or ask the waiter to pack half your meal to go home before you begin. Even when you dine out, you can find simple ways to control how much you eat if you put a little planning into it.

Living in a world of super-size enormous portions makes it hard to remember how much we should be eating.

At home or at a restaurant, if you can find a way to shrink your portions you’ll eat less and be more nourished. It’s a simple truth but there’s your win.