Some people seem to be able to eat whatever they want without gaining an ounce. We know their secret: portion control. (As for those people who can eat whatever they want… in copious amounts, it remains an envious mystery.)
Here’s the good news: Portion control is a skill that anyone can learn and eventually do subconsciously. And once you’ve mastered it, it’s pretty darn empowering, because nothing’s off-limits—including starchy carbs, pizza and ice cream.
Hooked? Read on.
UNDERSTAND YOUR CALORIE NEEDS
In order to figure out your personal portions at meals, you’ll first need to calculate your daily calorie requirement. Crunch your numbers with our super easy formula. Then divvy up your daily calorie allotment (AKA, fuel) throughout the day into meals and snacks.
1,600 calories/day = 3 meals (about 400-500 calories each) + 1-2 snacks (200 calories or less per snack).
— USE VISUAL CUES TO PERFECT PORTIONS
Here’s a handy reference (hah, get it?) for portioning a wide variety of foods.
TOO COMPLICATED? TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT…
SLIDE INTO HOME “PLATE”
For a lot of people, the thought of counting calories can be a bit daunting, and we certainly don’t recommend whipping out a measuring cup or food scale in a restaurant (#crazy). Here’s a simple and more socially acceptable tool to help you navigate portions: your plate.
Fill 1/2 your plate with veggies (think: salad greens, stir-fried bell peppers and onions, roasted carrots, steamed broccoli), 1/4 with protein (like seared fish, baked chicken, grilled lamb or steak, tofu scrambles, stir-fried tempeh, stewed beans), and 1/4 with fiber-rich carb (try baked sweet potato, whole grain pasta, steamed brown rice, quinoa, fresh bread). And use fats like butter, olive oil and salad dressing sparingly to taste.
Still hungry? Veg out! Go back for a 2nd (or 3rd!) helping of nutrient-packed, non-starchy veggies.