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When it comes to healthy eating, some people are quite good at picking out the right types of food, but when it comes to portion sizes, they don’t have any self-control.
Food can be delicious and desirable, and it’s easy to want to indulge in tasty foods all day long, but part of eating a proper diet includes consuming the right portion sizes and stopping eating when we are no longer hungry.
America is known for having large portion sizes, and apart from containing more calories, larger portions can actually encourage you to eat more as well as underestimate how much you’re eating. Getting used to smaller sizes can take some adjusting, especially in a world where large amounts of food is encouragd and getting the biggest size is a better deal financially.
If you’re trying to cut down on the amount of food you eat at a time (in a healthy way, of course), try these seven ways to trick yourself into eating less.
1. Drink More Water
“Ensuring you’re adequately hydrated prevents dehydration-induced hunger cravings and mindless snacking,” says Tory Tedrow RD, CNSC. Our bodies often mistake thirst for hunger, as signals for both come from the same part of the brain. Drink a glass of water before meals to prevent overeating.
2. Fill Up On Healthy Fats
Loading up on healthy monounsaturated fats such as nuts, avocados, and olive oil can help fill you up and prevent you from eating more later on. One study from the Nutrition Journal found that eating avocado with a meal helped people feel more satisfied and eat less later on.
3. Eat On A Smaller Plate
“Psychologically, we feel more satisfied when we eat equal amounts of food off of a smaller, completely full plate versus a larger partially empty plate,” says Tedrow. “Swap your dinner plates for salad plates and use teaspoons or other small utensils to have more satisfying meals.”
4. Pause Between Bites
“Put your fork down between bites,” says Tedrow. “This forces you to slow down and enjoy your meals, which allows time for your brain to catch up with your stomach’s ‘I’m full’ signals.” Habits like pausing between bites or savoring your food are a part of mindful eating, which can help you adopter healthier eating habits, including eating less.
5. Don’t Eat Out Of The Container
“It can be tempting to eat ice cream straight from the pint, but it is easier to practice proper portion control and more satisfying to eat foods off of real dishware,” says Tedrow. “Even foods designed to be eaten straight from the container such as yogurt are more satisfying when eaten in a small bowl, which can prevent you from going back for a second helping.”
6. Use A Blue Plate
It may seem sort of strange, but research shows that people who eat off dark blue plates eat less than people who eat off plates of other colors. Although they’re not sure why, researchers think that portions look larger against the contrast of the plate.
7. Use A Sectioned Plate
If you’re not sure what constitutes a portion, buy a portion control dish to help manage the amount of food you eat. Studies show that these plates are effective at helping people lose weight, and they can also make sure you’re eating balanced meals.
Portion Control Plate, $14.99
Photo by Breville USA