Week 3 of nutrition month starts Monday, and the theme is “Prioritize Portion Size.” When it comes to healthy eating, how much you eat can be just as important as what you eat.
Some people tell me they have no idea how much they should eat at a meal. If that’s you, check out the Canadian Diabetes Association’s handy portion guide. With that as a general guide, tune into your body’s fullness signals. One of my favourite tools for this is the Hunger/Fullness scale. Print it and bring it to the kitchen table for a few days until you get the hang of it.
But here’s the best advice I can give you on portion control: Don’t rely on willpower! The tips below can help you eat less without having to think about it while you’re eating.
Larger portions, huge packages and bigger plates and bowls can all cause overeating. Set your table for portion-size success with these tips:
For more on plate size, watch this.
Keep treat-type snack foods out of sight so you’ll be less likely to nibble. Studies show you’re more likely to choose available, easily reached foods. Try these tips to make healthy choices easier:
Buy in bulk without bulking up!
Big packages and bulk items can be budget-friendly but a portion pitfall! Stockpiling large amounts of food can cause you to eat more, negating your cost savings and derailing your healthy-eating efforts. The bigger the package, the more you’re likely to eat. Try these tips:
Finding yourself hungry too soon after eating meals or snacks? You might need to add more fibre- and protein-rich foods to your meals. Fibre helps fill you up and protein helps your energy last longer. Together, they deliver meal and snack satisfaction.
For fantastic fibre-filled or protein-packed recipes, visit: www.cookspiration.com.
Still Eating More Than You Think You Should?
If you’ve done all of this to set yourself up with a healthy food environment, but still overdo it more often than you’d like, take a close look at other possible causes. Are you sleep-deprived, which can lead to food cravings? Has your relationship with food been harmed by chronic dieting? Does emotional eating play a role? Is it possible that you’re eating too little during the day, leading to real physical hunger? As you can see, figuring this out may not be simple, so consider recruiting a loved one to help you, or engaging the support of a healthcare professional.
If these tips resonate with you, I’d suggest picking just one — something easy — that you think will help you mindlessly eat less. Focus on doing that one thing for the rest of Nutrition Month, rather than trying to do it all at once. Once you’ve established one good new habit, then come back and think about something else.
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Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca.