Controlling your portions doesn’t mean you need to eat tiny amounts or measure out precisely the number of peas on your plate. But if we’re eating too much, then we may need to retrain our brains to see a smaller-than-normal portion as satisfying enough. Here are some extra tricks to try so that it’s not just wishful shrinking:
1. Use a smaller plate
A standard-sized portion will look small on a larger plate, making you feel dissatisfied. Use a smaller plate to prevent overloading. A Pre-Surgery Healthy Portion Plate or Post-Surgery Bariatric Portion Plate will help with this.
2. Don’t double your carbs
If you already have some starchy carbohydrate with your meal, do you need bread, naan or chapatis as well? You could be doubling your portion, so if you like to have some bread on the side, you’ll need to cut down the amount of starchy carbohydrate on your plate accordingly.
3. Give measuring cups a go
Finding it difficult to gauge the right amount to eat? Try using measuring cups. You can buy these here.They’re just a simple way of measuring the amount for you every time and ours can also be used for cooking in and eating from if liked.
4. Be selective with your seconds
Finish your meal with fruit rather than full-fat chocolate cake (or make some bariatric brownies see recipe here). An apple will help to fill you up more than a couple of squares of chocolate, but both contain similar amounts of calories.
5. Don’t pick at leftovers
“Avoid the temptation to polish off children’s or grandchildren’s meals or to nibble leftovers”
Wasting food certainly isn’t ideal, but it doesn’t mean you need to finish off everyone else’s portions. Avoid the temptation to polish off children’s or grandchildren’s meals or to nibble leftovers when there’s not quite enough for a whole portion.
If you find it happens regularly, then get into the habit of cooking less or have a plan to use up leftovers in another meal.
6. 20-minute rule
Think you haven’t had enough? Wait for about 20 minutes before reaching for a second helping. It can take a little while for you to feel full after you have eaten. So avoid the temptation to keep eating and see if you get that feeling. But do avoid grazing all day.
7. Check food labels
Make sure you know what portion the nutrition information on the front and back of pack relates to. It might be different to the amount you would normally serve yourself.
8. Ask for less
When you’re eating out, watch out for supersized portions. It’s easier to avoid temptation if the food isn’t on your plate to begin with, so say no to the bread basket and think about whether you need to have chips with your burger. Why not ask for a take-out bag for the food you can’t eat or ask for half of your full-sized portion to be bagged up before you start – tomorrow’s meal sorted in one swift stroke!
Some information courtesy of British Heart Foundation