Now that we’re approaching the New Year, almost everyone will start making resolutions—many of which will include some form of diet, exercise, or weight loss in general. While there is no magical solution to losing weight, one thing that needs to happen no matter what is portion control. But it can be really tough to do that, especially if you don’t intend to weigh everything you eat on a mini scale before it hits your plate.
If you want a few easy ways to get your portions under control, Women’s Health Magazine has some great tips that will make your New Year’s goals actually attainable.
1. Start cooking with condiments first
This sounds funny, but it can go a long way. Measure out everything from oil to mayo to dressing and then put the bottles away. By doing this, you’ll limit how much you end up cooking and ultimately eating. When you start with the main ingredients first, you might make more than you need, and then load it up with tons of caloric condiments. By starting with the condiments first, you’re automatically limiting yourself from the get-go.
2. Don’t eat “diet” foods
We’ve all heard this one before for sure. When something is low calorie, fat, sugar, etc, chances are it’s high in something else. Plus you’ll be more likely to overeat: “In one study from the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, people who thought they were eating low-fat foods automatically ate 28.4 percent more calories than those who knew they were dining on the full-fat version.”
3. Fill half of your plate with veggies
And while you’re at it, make the other half 25% protein and 25% starch. It’s hard to feel full when you’re cutting back on certain aspects of your meal. By loading up on the veggies, your plate will not only look full, but you’ll feel full too. Vegetables are high in dietary fiber, which will go a long way in helping you to hit your goal.
4. Know when to use bigger plates
If you’re eating a typical meal, then yes, you should try to use a smaller dish. Doing so will make it look like you’re eating more when you load up your plate. But if you’re making a nice big salad, then definitely opt for a nice big plate or bowl! As we said above, loading up on vegetables is a great thing, and it’s hard to do so when you’re working with only a little real estate on your plate.
5. Cut up your food before sitting at the table
Notice a trend here? A large part of cutting portion size is psychological. In this case, by cutting up your food before sitting down to eat, you’ll be spreading it around your plate more, which will make it look like there’s more food than there actually is. So cut that chicken or starchy side into smaller pieces before sitting down, and you won’t feel like you’re sacrificing much.