6 Easy Ways to Control How Much You Eat
How much you should eat isn’t an exact science. Portion size is different for everybody — and it varies by age, weight, activity level and other factors.
Three ounces of protein may be just right for one person but too much for someone else. And while two ounces may be just right for you one day, five ounces may be just right the next. Some days our bodies need more — or less — of some nutrients.
So, how can you find the “right” portion size for you? These tips make it easier:
1. Eat a balanced diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy. You’ll be more likely to eat “right” portion sizes if your meals include:
- High-fiber foods, such as whole grains. Fiber can help you feel fuller faster and longer. The opposite is true for low-fiber, high-sugar foods. Your body processes them quicker, which can cause you to feel hungrier sooner and lead you to eat more.
- Lean protein and unsaturated fats (from vegetables, nuts and seeds, for example). When your body breaks down proteins and healthy fats, it signals your brain to feel more satisfied. The more satisfied you feel, the less you’ll overeat.
2. Give food your full attention. Research shows that people eat more when they eat while distracted, such as when driving, working or watching TV. Instead, eat at the table. Turn off the TV, and get rid of other distractions. Take time to enjoy your food. By paying attention to what you’re eating and how full you’re getting, you’ll be less likely to eat more than you need.
3. Slow down. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain when it’s full. So, eat slower. Put your fork down between bites. Encourage conversation at the dinner table, so your mouth is preoccupied with more than just chewing.
4. Don’t restrict yourself. Restricting your portion size may only make you hungrier — or at least think you’re hungrier. Go ahead and eat just what your body needs, when it needs it. And that includes snacks. (See the next tip.)
5. Eat on a schedule. Eating meals and snacks at the same time each day can make it easier to eat healthy portions. Enjoying food at regularly spaced times helps ensure your body always has the fuel it needs. That way, you’ll never feel famished, which can push you to overindulge.
6. Don’t super-size it. Enormous portions in restaurants can skew our impression of how much food we really need. When you’re served a super-sized portion, don’t feel like you need to eat all of it. Split the meal with someone else. Or immediately ask for a take-home box so you can pack up part of the meal and just eat what’s left on your plate.
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