Food & Recipes

Is Eating Only Half Of What’s On Your Plate Really The Best Way To Shed Pounds?

Pay more attention to what you're eating—not how much!

Eat just half of the delicious food on your plate. It’s a concept that sounds so easy until those sushi rolls or chicken tacos are right in front of you! Here’s the thing—eating just half of what’s on your plate will absolutely help you lose weight because you’re eating half the food and fewer calories. But there are other, somewhat smarter ways to lose weight without tempting yourself every time you order a meal.

At least half of us dine at restaurants at least twice a week, and you don’t have to be a nutritionist to know those meals have far more calories than the meals you make at home. So what do you do? If you’re a dedicated dieter, strive to take half of what’s on your plate home. But let’s be real. Most people will want to eat everything that’s in front of them, so here are other ways to get your food portions right!

1. Fill Half Your Plate With Fruits And Veggies

If you have a choice (and you usually do) pick vegetables over fries, pastas and other “bad carbs.” Think reds, oranges and dark greens to get a variety of the nutrients you need. It’s okay to eat more of your meal if you’re focused on the quality and not just the quantity. USDA’s My Plate is a great tool for building the right mix of foods if you need a little guidance.

vegetables photo
Getty Images | Christopher Furlong

2. Eat Off A Smaller Plate

If you’re eating at a buffet, for example, look for a smaller salad plate and use that for your main course. If you’re being served family-style, eat off the smaller bread plates. You will naturally trick yourself into eating a smaller amount of food, even though you’re also eating everything on your plate. When cooking at home, try a sectioned plate.

small plate photo
Getty Images | Kevork Djansezian

3. Split Your Meal With Someone

When you share a meal, you are offering up half of what’s on your plate so there’s no temptation to eat everything served to you. Plus, you won’t have it at home haunting you as a midnight snack. Some experts recommend just splitting the entrée, then ordering a vegetable or fruit side so you don’t cut yourself short.

waiter photo
Getty Images | Joe Raedle

4. Don’t Give In To Add-Ons

Restaurants recognize that many diners want smaller portions. They’re shrinking their meal sizes to get you to buy more add-ons like desserts, appetizers and beverages. ABC News calls it the “room-for-dessert factor.” Don’t cave in!

chocolate cake photo
Flickr | DHuiz

5. Order Water And Drink It!

Our bodies often mistake thirst for hunger. Instead of quenching that thirst with fatty food, try to finish an entire glass of water before you start eating.

glass of water photo
Flickr | photo.jhassy