You’ve probably heard us preaching balance and the importance of the occasional #treatyoself - and these are values we are proud to stand behind because we believe not depriving yourself is the only way to achieve long-term sustainable results! The BFF of balance is portion control… meaning, it’s totally fine to say YES to the donut - but the third, fourth, and 20th donut are probably a little much. :)
Further, even when you are eating healthy, if you go overboard with the portion size, the calories can still add up fast. Take sweet potatoes for example: these delicious root veggies are full of fiber, vitamins A, B and C, and many important minerals such as iron, calcium, and selenium. Not to mention, they are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth naturally! One small sweet potato (about 5 inches long) contains about 115 calories, making it a perfect addition to any meal. But beware: often times the sweet potatoes in the grocery store are MUCH larger, containing 2 or even 3 times the calories.
As we know, weight gain comes from consuming more calories than we burn. (To figure out about how many calories you burn in a day, check out this handy calculator.) That’s why many people like to keep track of the macronutrients they consume, AKA counting macros. Counting macros is a simple way to monitor the calories (and types of calories) you’re consuming, to keep on track with your diet and fitness goals.
Counting macros also allows for the occasional #treatyoself, but monitoring your portions, even for healthy foods!, is key. Here are some helpful ideas for maintaining portion control at every meal!
Have a snack before your meal. Yep - that’s right: forget what grandma said about spoiling your dinner! Having a small, healthy snack (ideally no more than 150 calories - try a piece of fresh fruit, like an apple; or half of an energy bar from your CLEAN.FIT box!) about an hour before your meal will ward of any major hangriness and should lead to decreased likelihood of pigging out during your meal.
Use a smaller plate. This one may seem obvious, but most plates in our homes (and at restaurants) are gigantic, relative to the amount of food we actually need! Try using a salad plate as your dinner plate, to ensure more conservative serving sizes.
Keep a food diary. A recent study showed that participants who were asked to recall their last meal before doing a taste test ate 30 percent fewer cookies, versus those who were asked about their morning commute. "Remembering what you ate activates your brain's hippocampus, which may play a role in decision-making to help you say no to consuming extra calories," says Suzanne Higgs. While a good old-fashioned notebook works perfectly fine for this, we love the convenience of the free MyFitnessPal app.
Use muffin tins for perfect portions! That’s right - muffin tins aren’t just for muffins anymore… Use muffin tins for everything from mini breakfast fritattas to mac n cheese. Here are 31 other great muffin tin recipe ideas!
Load up on the veggies. Aim for the 50/50 rule on your plate: 50% veggies, and the rest protein and (healthy) carbohydrates. Veggies are full of fiber which help you feel fuller, not to mention, they are full of vital nutrients that your body craves!
BONUS TIP: Try a nut scoop. Yes, we are nuts over nuts too - considering they pack many healthy fats and are delicious! However, it’s very easy to overeat these little gems which are quite high in calories (did you know that 17 cashews have over 150 calories?!). Check out this cool little scoop to help measure a proper serving size of nuts!
Have any other great portion control tips?! We wanna hear! Please share them with us in the #cleanfitfam Facebook group.