Portion Control

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GEETA KHURANA on the all important quantity control of our food

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Portion control is the key to a healthy and balanced diet. Sometimes we unintentionally serve large portions and therefore end up consuming more calories. This might happen if the food is very delicious or a favourite, but most commonly it happens if we miss or skip our meals. Overdoing portion sizes even with healthy meals is not a good habit and adds extra calories.

Here are a few tips to control your portions:

1. Control at home

Try to use smaller plates at home, instead of having large plates. You can even use plates with segments or divisions to limit the amount of food. To minimize the temptation of second and third helpings when eating at home, serve the food on individual plates, instead of putting serving dishes on the table. Keeping excess food out of reach may discourage overeating.

2. Small, frequent meals

Having small and frequent meals keeps the metabolism going and prevents you from overloading your plate at the next meal. If we skip meals, we are hungrier at the next meal and tend to eat lager portion sizes. If you feel hungry between meals, eat a healthy snack like a piece of fruit, low fat yoghurt, nuts or a small salad, to avoid overeating during your next meal.

3. Dining out

Restaurant portions are generally large. Sharing with a friend or going half-n-half helps in having smaller portion sizes. Do not stuff yourself just to finish the food on the table, get it packed in a takeaway container to enjoy the next day.

4. Other activities

While watching TV or doing other activities like reading or studying, you are unable to measure how much you eat. As a result you tend to overeat without knowing it. Try to switch off the TV or computer during meals and try to make meals ‘family’ time. Or if want to enjoy snacks while watching your Saturday movie, put the amount Have a onefourth plate of carbohydrates, one-fourth plate of proteins and half with veggies, for a balanced portion plate.

5. Avoid temptation

These days, wherever you go you will find offers of an upsize or large sizes at almost no cost. Even bags of chips and goodies are getting bigger and larger. Avoid giving in to temptations like these to avoid over-consumption of unnecessary calories.

6. Purchase small amounts or portions

If you think that once you open a bag of chips, you will not stop eating until it is finished, buy small packs or go in for kid’s sized packs. Even if you think the larger bags are more economical, eating more might cost you even more. Even if you sometimes buy large packs, divide the contents into smaller portions as soon as the bag is opened.

7. Avoid buffets

Skipping your previous meal before going to a buffet spread is the worst thing for portion control. ‘Eat as much as you can’ may sound good, but our waistline may not agree with that after some time. Therefore, firstly avoid going to buffets regularly and secondly, do not skip previous meals; rather have a snack before you go.

8. Fill up on fruits and vegetables

It is good to fill half the plate with salads and vegetables as these contribute fewer calories (if cooked in less oil) and more fibre than carbohydrates and proteins. Have a one-fourth plate of carbohydrates, one-fourth plate of proteins and half with veggies, for a balanced portion plate. Portion control is a much healthier and long term way to maintain or lose weight than dieting or eliminating foods, which are more short term methods.

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