Every year, fitness, health, and eating well are at the top of the resolution list. Meantime, a recent report said the top factor in contributing to obesity, a risk factor for health problems like heart disease, diabetes, snoring, and back pain, is portion control.

Doctors say if you can control your meal portions, you have a better shot at controlling your weight, which delivers amazing benefits like more energy, a healthier sex life, better quality of sleep, and a longer life! It’s less about your looks and more about being well for life.

Portion control is easier said than done, when we’re a society of “seconds,” and restaurants have doubled and tripled their portion sizes in the past 20 years. Here’s what you need to know to get a grip on portions in the real world, right now.

Handle It

What’s a portion? Use your hand to get a handle on it. Most portions can be estimated by matching food amounts to some part of your own hand.

  • A small, adult clenched fist = one pasta or rice portion;
  • Your palm (minus the fingers) = one serving of meat, fish, or poultry;
  • A cupped handful = one portion for snacks like pretzels;
  • Your whole thumb = the size of one cheese portion

Eating Out? Be Strategic and Social

It’s likely your meal will arrive bigger than you expected. That’s the trend. Buck the trend, use a little strategy, and socialize at the same time.

  • At the time of ordering, ask for them to cut the order in half, only serving you half of it and bagging the rest to-go;
  • If there’s a charge for them to split the food, ask for a to-go bag with your order, and the second it arrives, put half of it in the container yourself, and set it aside for later;
  • Split an entrée with your meal-mate;
  • If you plan to get dessert, share it with others so you can have a satisfying finish to the meal, without eating the entire three-scoop banana split yourself

Home School Yourself 

Reeducate yourself about how you serve your food and store it for later – it could make all the difference!

  • Use smaller dishes to curate you’re eating and enjoy that selection;
  • Serve appropriate portions from the get-go, and wait five minutes for a new perspective on whether you really need to go for seconds;
  • Put away properly-portioned leftovers to take out/unfreeze at a later date, easily;
  • Don’t eat out of cartons and boxes, aka, bottomless portions;
  • Remove huge food platters from the table to reduce “picking” at the food

Change your approach to portions, watch weight management get a little easier, and enjoy the array of wellness perks for years to come.