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The trick to portion control is to slightly alter your portion sizes so that you do not feel hungry or deprived. This extra amount that you would otherwise eat but not miss has been coined the ‘mindless margin’ and is easy enough to leave off your plate without noticing the difference.

Up to 20 per cent of the food on our plate can easily be left off without making a noticeable difference to our hunger levels.

Some general tips to keeping portion sizes down include:

  1. Eat from smaller plates and bowls. Consider eating your main meal from an entrée-sized plate and soups and desserts from a small children’s-sized bowl rather than a large one. By eating from a smaller plate or bowl our brain is tricked into thinking we are eating the same amount of food because our meal still fills the entire plate/bowl.
  2. Fill at least half of your plate with salad or non-starchy vegetables (such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, squash, zucchini, eggplant, green beans). Since we tend to eat with our eyes and not with our stomachs the trick is to fill your plate with these lower-calorie foods so that your brain still sees a full plate.
  3. One quarter of our plate can be topped with starches including rice, potatoes, corn, carrots, pasta, quinoa and noodles.

  4. One quarter of our plate can be a protein source including meat, chicken, fish, tofu, lentils/beans.

  5. Drink from tall skinny glasses instead of short wide glasses as skinny glasses look


  6. Keep on hand small containers for portioning out snacks rather than eating from theoriginal packaging.
  7. If making a large serving of a meal, portion out into individual servings and freeze foranother day/meal.
  8. Water down fruit juice or, better still, avoid completely and choose whole fruit instead(but avoid extra natural sugar).
  9. Choose a salad option when dining out (dressing on the side).
  10. Choose pre-packaged party-sized servings of chocolate and sweets to have as your occasional snack.
  11. Think 20 per cent less overall food on your plate and 20 per cent more vegetables or salad on your plate.BONUS TIP: Drink a large glass of water 10–15 minutes before a meal. This can curb appetite.
    Hopefully with these simple tips we may all find managing our portions a little easier.
    From page 90 ‘Healthy Habits, 52 Ways to Better Health’
    Healthy Habits book Dr Cris