5 easy ways to help stop portion distortion

Portion distortion is definitely a major contributor to girth control issues. Even if you’re going for healthy options (other than maybe low-calorie vegetables),  large servings can make the calories and pounds add up.

While everyone knows that large servings of  high calorie fare such as  cake, cookies and fried snack foods can contribute to weight gain, it’s the healthy stuff that can fool you.  Large or second servings of quinoa or  very generous portions of nuts along with other foods, on a regular basis,  can throw off weight management efforts just as too many cookies might. Sure one offers much more nutrition, but excess is excess no matter how you look at it.

It’s one of the most common issues I see in my practice and one that many people are totally unaware of.

Here are five tips to help you halt portion distortion:

•    Change your plate size

A large plate can make an appropriate sized serving look skimpy while a small one can make it seem like plenty. A number of studies have been done by the portion distortion expert Brian Wansink including one where campers, who were given larger bowls, ate 16 % more cereal than those who were given smaller ones. Yet – and here’s the kicker- those who had the larger bowls estimated that they had eaten less than those with the smaller ones.

It’s an easy change that might pay off  big.

•    Mix your favourite grain with lots of vegetables

Even if you’re using a smaller plate, a serving of a starchy food you love, such as pasta, rice or quinoa, can seem meagre. Instead of increasing the amount, make it appear larger by adding some tasty accompaniments. For example, if you toss in a generous serving of sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms  into a cup of pasta, you can double the amount of food you’re eating – not to mention upping your nutrition at the same time.

•    Don’t serve meals family style

Keeping a platter of food on the table is asking for trouble. It’s called the See Food Diet. Of course, if it tastes good and is sitting in front of you, you will take more.  Even if you’ve got incredible willpower, I bet you can’t resist all the time.

•    Put away leftover portions before sitting down to eat

If you know that you have cooked more than you plan to eat, avoid the temptation of finishing off the leftovers. Plate your  food and put the leftover in the fridge before you sit down. Not only will you eat less but you’ll also decrease the chance of foodborne illness from any foods being put away after the meal.

•    Don’t ever eat directly from a package

How many times have you sat with a bag or package of  food such as crackers, biscuits or chips and eaten much more than you planned? It’s  a sure-fire recipe for overeating.  And the bigger the bag, the more you’ll likely eat.

Instead portion out what you plan to eat on a plate and put away the package and then sit down and enjoy.

Have you had a problem with portion distortion? What tricks do you have to keep serving sizes in check? Please share in the comment section.

Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Tips and Tricks

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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