8 Easy Ways To Control Portion Control:
1 Weigh and Measure Your Food
Many people have trouble estimating portion sizes. Weighing and measuring food can help. “We can’t be healthy if we eat everything put in front of us, and weighing and measuring teaches us appropriate portion sizes,” says Jill Weisenberger, RD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator and writer in Yorktown, Va. “If you don’t eat the proper amount of carbohydrates at your meal, expect your blood glucose to shoot too high or, if on certain medications, to drop dangerously low.”
2 Use Visual Aids
How much is a portion, anyway? It’s hard to tell in this era of supersized foods. Twenty years ago, the average blueberry muffin was 1.5 ounces and 210 calories. Today, most muffins are 5 ounces and 500 calories. A bagel used to be 3 inches and 140 calories, but now is 6 inches and 350 calories or more. Use a food scale wherever possible. When eating out, you can estimate serving sizes by comparing them to familiar objects — for example, one cup is about the size of a tennis ball, and one serving of meat, which is about 3 ounces, should be the size of a deck of playing cards. A serving of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal should equal the size of a small computer mouse.
3 Read Food Labels
It’s easy to grab a big bottle of juice and chug it down without thinking — and without reading the nutrition label first. But it’s important to read food labels carefully when monitoring portion sizes. Start with the calorie count, but then look beyond that. Many beverage and food packages contain more than you might think. What seems like a single serving might actually be two. And if it contains two servings, the number of calories in the container must be doubled as well. Food labels can also be useful pieces of information for sugar and carbohydrate counts
4 Avoid All-You-Can-Eat Buffets
Common sense should tell you that all-you-can-eat buffets are a bad idea for everyone, but especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. With big plates and the ability to endlessly refill them, portion control becomes a losing battle. If confronted with this type of dining experience, vow to use only two plates. For better portion control, choose low-calorie, low-carb foods like shrimp and raw veggies for the first plate, says Weisenberger, and follow your usual meal plan for the second.
5 Use Smaller Plates
Buying smaller plates or using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate are good options for people with diabetes because this is a tangible portion control method that’s hard to circumvent. Be sure to fill half your reduced-size plate with vegetables or salad, one-quarter with a starch food, and one-quarter with protein. This is a great way to monitor portion sizes and trick your eye into thinking you’re eating more because the plate will look fuller.
6 Write Down What You’re Eating
Besides helping monitor portion control, keeping a food log has another benefit for someone with diabetes. “By recording your intake and your blood glucose, you will learn how foods affect your blood glucose,” says Weisenberger. You’ll need to measure your blood glucose in pairs for this to work. “Measure just before eating and two hours later,” she explains. “If you do this often enough you will know the best foods and portion sizes for you.”
7 Stay Away From Supersizing
Supersizing is a supersized danger when it comes to portion control. Avoid it at all costs. The average soda today is 20 ounces and 250 calories — compare that to 20 years ago when it was 6.5 ounces and 82 calories. Don’t get carried away with bigger portion sizes just because it’s a good deal for your wallet. Your waist and health will pay for it.
8 Watch the Beverages
Another reason to say no to sodas is their notable lack of nutrition. Many beverages tend to deliver empty calories. “Avoid regular sodas and juices as it’s better to eat your carbs than drink them,” says Wolter-Nitta. “Beverages don’t satisfy hunger and they raise blood glucose very rapidly. Choose water or diet beverages instead.” If you occasionally indulge in a regular soda or juice, read the label for the portion size information and practice portion control.