There’s crumbs, popcorn, and cereal in the crevices of Jan’s couch…
Jan loves two things: snacking and television. That’s a scary combination right there…
On a typical Friday night, Jan will turn on Netflix to watch one of her favorite movies. Of course, she’ll munch on a bag of popcorn and a bag of chips.
You probably could guess what’s next…
She gets so invested in the movie that she doesn’t even realize that she’s on her third bag of chips and her third bag of popcorn!
We’d all agree that Jan needs to eat more nutritious snacks. Now stocking your cupboard with healthy snacks 24/7? That’s not easy.
This post is all about portion control—minimizing how much food you eat per serving. But first, a disclaimer…
Portion control does NOT mean Jan should starve herself. Actually, eating plenty of HEALTHY calories, in combination with an active lifestyle, is a great thing!
This is your guide to limiting your indulgences and cravings. It’s about keeping your goals in sight, even if you go out for drinks or splurge on pizza for your cheat day.
So, what do ya say? Let’s get into it!
Get your food OUT OF the Kitchen
One BIG mistake the average dieter makes is lingering around the kitchen while eating, Think about it: the more time someone’s around food, the mo
re they’ll be tempted to eat, and the more likely they’ll be to give in to those cravings.
There’s a simple solution to this dilemma: leave the kitchen!
Eat while you take a walk. Grab a snack for the drive to get your kids from school (just don’t eat and drive!). I mean, you could even just go outside and eat an apple while your kids play in the backyard.
Again, if you’re not around food, you won’t feel the urge to keep eating. You won’t mindlessly eat, either, which leads right in to our second tip…
Only a handful!
Most people consume more calories than they even realize. That’s because eating isn’t always at the forefront of their minds…
What they also lack is a “stop” switch. Just like Jan, they get too caught up in a movie, or a talk show, or talking with friends, to notice how many calories they’re ingesting…
Your mighty sword in the battle against unnecessary calories is portion control.
Before you eat ANY snack that comes out of a bag or box, first read the nutritional label, then take out a handful of that snack to munch on.
Stick with that handful.
Obviously the size of that handful will vary depending on how healthy the snack you’re eating is. Still, you want to eat the bulk of your calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so not overeating will save your appetite for those meals!
So how do you combat cravings, the ones that can sneak up on you at any time? Cut those cravings in half! Your palate will enjoy the flavor of an occasional “cheat snack”, and you won’t kill your progress by piling on any extra sugar, carbs, and bad fats.
Hide those unhealthy snacks!
Keep those things as far away from your fingers as possible!
Of course, if you’re hungry and there’s nothing to eat at your place except Greek yogurt and fruits, you’ll probably end up eating the Greek yogurt and fruits just to satisfy your appetite.
Now, you can bury those unhealthy snacks wayyyy in the back of your cupboard, but the main point is to keep these treats somewhere you’ll need to work to get to, somewhere so hidden that you’d rather eat what’s available over what tastes better.
If that means locking up your chips in the top cupboard with an actual lock, so be it…
If that means giving your unhealthy snacks to your roommate to keep away from you, again, so be it…
Remember: You can be your own worst enemy, but discipline and accountability can go a long way in keeping you on your path to fitness and health.
Know what you’re eating!
Have you ever had a friend tell you to “try” some Japanese, Lebanese, Filipino, or Mexican food—but they don’t tell you what it’s called?
Then, right as you savor your first bite, they light up with a grin and explain that you just ate a cow’s brain or a chicken fetus.
If you’re squeamish, you’d probably never try had tried that baby chicken fetus if you knew what it was in the first place.
That same principle should apply to dieting. So what’s the difference?
People don’t care about nutrition labels!
These labels often look confusing and unfriendly, but they’re actually your cheat sheet to portioning.
Once Jan arrives at home, though, she notices that there’s MUCH more sugar per packet of oatmeal than she thought (she missed that part of the label).
It dawns on her that her doctor JUST told her to ease up on her sugar intake or she’ll become pre-diabetic. Yet had she not read the label, she would’ve assumed that the oatmeal was nutritious and therefore ok to eat in a large bowl.
Now, she can adjust her breakfast by eating less oatmeal in a smaller bowl, maybe with some fiber-rich granola sprinkled on top.
THAT’S how you portion the right way. When it’s clear that the stuff you’re about to eat is horrible for your body, you’ll think twice about eating as much of whatever you happen to be eating (or, even better, not eating that snack at all).
Get pre-portioned snacks
Don’t feel like doing the math and dividing up your food?
There’s an easy solution for you! Plenty of snacks come in pre-portioned packets that take the guesswork out of dieting.
You may have seen those 100-calorie packs of almonds, crackers, etc. These are great for when you’re on the go and don’t have time to properly portion out your food.
One of the hotter trends of today is subscription boxes. You pay a set amount per month to receive 30 days worth of food and snacks. These boxes are designed for people with little idea or time how to portion properly, so if you want the work done for you go ahead and check it out. You can even get boxes designed to meet your specific health goals, whether that be cutting down on carbs or increasing your daily protein intake.