Portion Control: What Is It and How to Implement It
In today's fast-paced and convenience-driven world, it's easy to lose track of how much we eat, with that in mind portion control is a vital aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
By understanding what portion control means and how to implement it effectively, we can develop healthier eating habits and achieve our fitness goals without feeling overly restricted.
In this article, we will explore the concept of portion control, provide top tips for implementing it, discuss its benefits for weight loss and weight management, and highlight the advantages of volume eating.
What Does Portion Control Mean?
Portion control refers to managing the quantity of food we consume in a single sitting.
It involves being mindful of portion sizes and ensuring they align with our nutritional needs. Many people tend to overeat due to larger portion sizes served in restaurants and the availability of processed foods with high calorie content. By taking on board portion control tips, we can prevent overeating, regulate calorie intake, and improve overall health.
Top Tips for Portion Control
#1 Use Smaller Plates
One of arguably the more obvious tips for controlling portion sizes is to opt for smaller plates and bowls to create an illusion of a full plate, helping you feel satisfied with smaller portions.
#2 Measure Servings
Utilise measuring cups, spoons, and kitchen scales to accurately measure your portion sizes, especially important if you’re tracking. This will help you understand appropriate serving sizes and avoid overeating.
#3 Practice Mindful Eating
Slow down and savour each bite, it can be very easy to eat quickly especially if you have a bust lifestyle. That being said, do your best to pay attention to hunger and fullness cues, allowing your body to communicate when it's satisfied.
More importantly, giving your body the chance to feel full and satisfied.
#4 Fill your Plate with Vegetables
Vegetables are low in calories and high in fibre, making them ideal for filling up your plate without adding excess calories. Plus, this relates to volume eating too, which we will talk about some more later so stick around for that!
#5 Limit Liquid Calories
Beverages like sugary fizzy drinks, juices, and alcohol can contribute to weight gain. Opt for water, unsweetened tea, or infused water as healthier alternatives and think about eating your calories rather than drinking them so you’re receiving some nutritional value.
#6 Pre-portion Snacks
Instead of mindlessly snacking from a large bag, portion out your snacks into smaller containers or bags. This helps prevent overeating and promotes mindful snacking overtime.
#7 Be Aware of Restaurant Servings
Restaurant portions are often larger than necessary. Consider sharing a meal, ordering an appetiser as the main course, or packing half the meal for later, this relates to understanding hunger cues and fullness cues to eat more mindfully.
#8 Read Food Labels
Pay attention to serving sizes mentioned on food labels and adjust your portions accordingly. It can be easy to judge by sight, but the label is there for a reason and ultimately will help you make informed decisions about what you eat.
#9 Plan and Prepare Meals
One of the best portion control tips and tricks by planning your meals in advance and cooking at home, you have more control over portion sizes and the quality of ingredients used.
The Benefits of Portion Control for Weight Loss and Weight Management
Calorie control: Portion control assists in managing calorie intake, which is essential if you have a goal of weight loss and maintenance. On a portion control diet, you can consume appropriate portions, and create a calorie deficit, leading to gradual and sustainable weight loss.
Balanced nutrition: Practicing portion control encourages a balanced diet by ensuring you include a variety of food groups in appropriate amounts. This helps meet your nutritional needs and promotes overall health.
Enhanced metabolism: By consuming smaller, well-portioned meals throughout the day, you can optimise your metabolism. This can help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels and improve energy levels.
Psychological satisfaction: Portion control promotes a healthier relationship with food. Rather than feeling deprived, you learn to enjoy better portioned plates and not feel underfed.
What is Volume Eating?
Volume eating is a dietary approach that focuses on consuming larger quantities of low-calorie, high-volume foods to create a sense of fullness while keeping calorie intake relatively low.
The concept revolves around choosing foods that have a low energy density, meaning they provide fewer calories per gram of food so in a nutshell, this is usually vegetables and nutritional foods.
By incorporating these foods into your meals and snacks, you can eat larger portions without consuming excessive calories.
The key principle of volume eating is to prioritise foods that are rich in fibre, water, and nutrients. These foods tend to be less calorie-dense and provide a greater physical volume, which can help you feel satisfied and full while consuming fewer calories overall.
Some examples of high-volume foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products.
Benefits of Volume Eating for Weight Loss
Volume eating can really help you in planning a weight loss portion plate, so here are some advantages of volume eating:
Increased satiety: High-volume, low-calorie foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains take up more space in your stomach, leaving you feeling satisfied with fewer calories.
Nutrient density: Volume eating emphasises nutrient-rich foods, providing essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants necessary for optimal health.
Improved digestion: High-fibre foods aid in digestion, promote regular bowel movements, and contribute to a healthier gut microbiome.
Reduced cravings: Consuming larger portions of low-calorie foods can help curb cravings for unhealthy, calorie-dense options, making it easier to maintain a balanced diet.
Examples of Foods to Volume Eat for Weight Loss
Volume eating involves incorporating foods that have a high water and fibre content, as well as being low in calorie density. Here are some examples of foods that can be included in a volume eating approach:
Fruits: Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), melons (watermelon, cantaloupe), citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits), apples, and pears are all excellent choices. They are high in water content, fibre, and provide natural sweetness.
Vegetables: One of the best tips for portion control is to consume nutritious vegetables like Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, leafy greens (spinach, kale, lettuce), zucchini, and tomatoes are great options. These vegetables are low in calories, high in fibre, and add volume to your meals and recipies.
Whole Grains: Quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, barley, and whole wheat pasta are examples of whole grains that can be incorporated into your meals. They are higher in fibre compared to refined grains and contribute to a feeling of fullness.
Legumes: Beans (black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans), lentils, and split peas are nutrient-dense and high in fibre. They can be added to soups, stews, salads, or used as a base for vegetarian dishes.
Remember, volume eating is about incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods into your meals while paying attention to portion sizes. It's important to listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues and practise mindful eating to truly enjoy the experience.
Before you Go…
Portion control is a powerful tool for weight management and promoting overall health. By being mindful of serving sizes, practising portion control, and incorporating volume eating into our diets, we can develop a healthier relationship with food and achieve our fitness goals.
Remember, it's not just what we eat, but how much we eat that matters, if you need help in controlling your portion sizes, enquire today about nutrition coaching here at Infinity Performance.