Weighing In: Proper Portions

Each week, our own fitness fanatic Bethany Shirilla will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.


It’s officially November and the holiday season is fast approaching. As we countdown the days until Thanksgiving dinner, there’s never been a better time to practice portioning. Understanding serving sizes and portion control will prevent you from indulging in too much turkey and stuffing in the weeks to come. Here are some quick tips and easy changes for managing portion control in your daily life.

Eat from a smaller plate. This is a trick I use when cooking for myself or at home with my family. I tend to use smaller lunch plates rather than larger dinner plates. I like to fill up my plate with a little bit of everything, which means the larger the plate, the more food I serve. By choosing a smaller plate, less food looks like more, and I unconsciously limit my portions.

Keep in mind that sizes have increased. Super-sized everything has become a reality. When possible, always order a small. Sizes today have increased to the point where a small is truly a medium or large serving. Restaurants also serve mega-sized portions. When possible, order a half meal. If a meal looks like too much, it probably is. Box up half in a to-go box before eating.

Keep snacks out of sight and out of mind. We tend to snack and go for second servings when the food is in our present sight. Hide snacks away in a cupboard or pantry. Better yet, if they aren’t healthy snacks, get rid of them. When cooking a big meal, don’t leave the platter or dish on the dining table. If the food is not within reach, you’ll be less inclined to indulge in seconds.

I find that keeping my healthiest foods towards the front of my fridge and pantry encourages me to reach for what’s closest. I put yogurt on the door and fruit and veggies at eye-level. Without any thought, I find myself grabbing what’s in front of me rather than digging in the back for something I should be avoiding.

Pinterest introduced me to avoiding bags and packages, which really helps. I make my own 100 calorie snacks in zip-lock bags for the road, or serve snacks in smaller bowls and containers. You tend to feel full faster knowing there’s not an entire bag of food to munch on.

Lastly, know your sizes. Serving sizes are often hard to judge, but becoming familiar with certain rules of thumb can give you a better understanding of your daily intake. One serving of soup or leafy greens is about the size of a baseball. A serving of meat is estimated to be the size of a deck of cards, while a serving of berries should be the size of a light bulb. WebMD is one of many online sources that provides an excellent guide of portion sizes.

November is a new month to start healthy habits. Managing what you eat and how much you eat doesn’t have to be painful, especially with quick fixes that make portion control easy. Get prepared for Thanksgiving dinner early and practice proper portioning.

Photo by Victoria Oberdorf


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