Understanding portions and losing weight kinda goes hand in hand. It also forces you to read labels, use measuring tools, and buy only what you need (or can consume within a reasonable time).
The restaurants have drastically distorted portions in recent years, fooling us into thinking that things like a chicken fried steak should fill your entire plate. Often times you can get 2 portions of chicken out of a chicken breast these days depending on the size of the breast, and a 12 oz. steak really ought to feed 3 people.
Here are a few things I’ve done in the name of portion control.
- Buy multiple sets of measuring cups and measuring spoons. Plastic sets are very inexpensive and there’s nothing more annoying than having to rinse out the same measuring cup over and over when measuring out multiple foods. Me? I have 3 sets of measuring cups (2 plastic and one stainless steel) and 2 sets of measuring spoons (1 plastic and one stainless steel). Use them diligently. The more you use them, the better you’ll get at estimating portions.
- Buy a digital food scale. Seriously it’s only $20, but it goes a LONG way. Get one that measures tare weight, which “zeroes out” the container and only weighs what’s been placed in it. And if it weighs in multiple measurements like grams, ounces, pounds, etc., even better.
- Research food portions. WebMD has a great source on food portions. They even have a couple downloadable PDFs that you can print out and tape to your refrigerator or kitchen cabinet for easy reference.
- If you buy meats in bulk, immediately prep them for the freezer. Double-wrap individual pieces of meat in saran wrap and package them in large gallon freezer bags so you can take out and defrost only what you need.
I also learned to label things with a label maker, and set reminders when I needed to defrost meats so that they’ll be ready in time for a meal. Also when I portioned my food into “grab ‘n go” portions, it makes preparing lunches a lot easier.
Understanding reasonable portions can stretch your food even further and help you control your consumption at the same time, thus saving you money in the long run.