4 Tips to Proper Portion Control

Simple ways to build good habits

pants with tape measure

It’s not always easy to keep our eyes from becoming bigger than our stomachs, but there are some things you can do to develop proper portion control.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic, has these suggestions:

  • plastic bag  of strawberries

    1. Use sandwich bags.

    Divvy up portions of foods like cereal or chips in sandwich bags and put them in a shoebox in the pantry. “Just seeing how much a portion is, as opposed to mindless picking at the bag, really does affect your portion control,” says Kirkpatrick.

  • stack of plates

    2. Eat from smaller plates.

    The bigger the plate, the more food you’ll probably put in it.

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  • slow down sign

    3. Slow down.

    By eating slower, you give your stomach more time to send a message to the brain that it’s full.

  • leftover plastic container

    4. Box leftovers right away.

    After your family’s dinner is portioned out on plates, take all of the leftovers and put them directly into containers — before you even sit down to dinner. “Try to avoid a family-style type meal,” says Kirkpatrick. “Because when you have the bowls there and you’re getting kind of bored and you’re distracted, you start picking from them.”

Kirkpatrick says you’re less likely to grab more food if you know you’ll have to go through the process of getting it out of the fridge, taking it from a container, and heating it up.

More information

Understanding Adult Obesity

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  • Eugene Golden

    Well number 4 just historically does not hold up. Families used to sit down for a family meal around the dining room of kitchen table and would eat out of large bowls and that family overall had no weight problem like they do now. Maybe that method has nothing to do with our obesity problem?