Portion control is one of the few most important behaviors for long term weight loss and maintenance. However, cravings, complicated guidelines and a busy lifestyle can really derail us at times. Forming the habit of portion control is much easier if you rely on a few simple tips rather than stressing too much over the right method.

Portion control is one of those concepts that can seem easy in theory, yet a little complicated to put into practice. That's because the guidelines when it comes to serving sizes are quite complicated and are not easy to remember most of the time. If we add this to the fact that limiting certain indulgences can make us crave them more instead of less, things get even tougher.

However, we don't have to spend all day measuring or weighting our food in order to stay on track when dieting. Knowing the portions for various types of food can definitely help, yet we don't have to be very concerned with doing everything perfectly. The following suggestions will help you get into the habit of getting portions right without too much effort.

Order a kid size meal. Particularly with foods that are easy to indulge in, ordering a kid size meal can help us be more mindful when it comes to our total intake. Aside from being a money saver, this strategy can keep us from feeling deprived and minimize the chance that we will binge later on. A similar strategy that can be used when cooking at home is to use a 9 inch plate instead of a regular one. You will automatically eat less without really noticing. However, make sure that you don't go for seconds as you will tend to eat more than you normally would.

Build a better plate. Eating more without feeling that your portions are drastically reduced is easier if you fill half your plate with fruits and veggies while the other half is filled with protein and starch. Other similar variations are treating meat as a side dish or eating a salad before the main course to suppress your appetite. Keeping dishes out of the table is also a quick and simple idea to avoid temptation to overeat. All of these ideas will help you keep your caloric intake low.



Be mindful about liquid calories. It's easy to forget that liquid calories can be a real diet buster especially if you usually drink fruit juices and not typically unhealthy beverages such as sodas. But these calories can add up, even if you make healthy choices. A simple trick to consume less calories is to choose a tall glass over a short one. You could be consuming 19% less calories this way. Watering down juices is another way to make sure that you get the flavor you crave with less calories.

Make your own 100 calorie snack packs. If you are a fan of including snacks or mini meals to keep your metabolism busy, a good strategy is to make your own. Aside from including healthy treats for the day, you can also prepackage some of your favorite treats. That way you will be able to take control splurges virtually guilt free. This technique can also work for food staples you typically indulge in such as pasta or rice as you will be less likely to underestimate your intake.



Limit your choices. Aside from keeping unhealthy foods out of reach or even out of the house, making sure your choices are limited will increase the chances of overindulging. Just as you are more likely to want to taste a variety of foods that are served at a party, you will be more likely to have bigger portions overall if you have many options in your home as well.

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