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Portion Control Plate: How To Portion Your Meals

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

Imagine achieving your healthy eating goals and experiencing a more balanced life.


How amazing would that be?

portion control plate

If this doesn’t describe your life, you’re not alone.


Many people who try to adopt a healthy lifestyle usually revert to their old habits.


It doesn't have to be this way. There's a solution that starts with connecting to your why, adding in a dash of SMART goals, and a sprinkle of accountability. All of which can be found with the support of a health and wellness coach!


I think I am getting ahead of myself, though; you are probably here to learn about portion control plate. What it means, how to start incorporating it into your daily life, and how it can support your healthy eating goals.


With that, portion control doesn’t have to be confusing or time-consuming.


If you practice portion control, you can start to bridge the gap between your dreams of healthy eating and your current reality without losing all of your favorite foods.


It's not wishful thinking; it's a practical approach to taking charge of your overall well-being.


The choice is yours. And if you're prepared to get started, keep reading.


Table of Contents


What is Portion Control?

Do you know what portion control is? It's about managing how much food you eat to stay healthy and balanced.


It's not just about the types of food or counting calories. Portion control means understanding the amount of food you consume and how that supports your overall health.


A few additional resources to consider can be found here or here, which one resonates with you?

meal portion plate

Why is portion control important?

Think about this: overeating food can make you gain weight and cause health problems. That's where portion control comes in. You can get the right amount of nutrients by thinking about how much you eat.


How Do You Figure Out Approximate Portion Sizes?

Here are a few approaches you can use:


1) Food scales

A food scale is one of the most accurate ways to determine portion sizes. Weigh the food item and compare it to the serving size on the nutrition label or in a trusted resource.


2) Measuring cups and spoons

Grab some measuring cups and spoons! They're handy tools for measuring both solid and liquid foods.


For example, measure a cup of cooked rice or a tablespoon of salad dressing.


3) Visual cues

While less precise than measuring tools, visual cues can help you estimate portion sizes anywhere and at anytime


Check out the below:

  • A typical serving of poultry, meat, or fish is around 4-6 oz about the size and width of a deck of cards.

  • One serving of grains, like rice or pasta, is about ½ cup (think the size of a tennis ball or your clenched fist).

  • A serving of cheese is about the size of four stacked dice.

  • A serving of nuts is approximately the size of a golf ball or around ¼ cup.

  • A serving of cooked vegetables is about 1 cup or the size of your closed fist.

4) Using your hands

Your hand can be a handy reference for estimating portion sizes:

  • Your palm (excluding fingers) can represent a serving of animal protein, like meat, fish, or poultry.

  • Your 2 fingers can estimate a serving of fats, such as oils or nut butter.

  • Your fist can approximate a portion size for grains

  • Your cupped hand can indicate a serving of leafy greens like spinach

hand portion sizes

5) Plate division

Divide your plate into sections for different food groups. Dedicate half the plate to vegetables and fruit, a quarter to lean protein, and a quarter to whole grains.


6) Mindful eating

Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly, giving your brain time to recognize when you're satisfied.


These methods give you a starting point for estimating portion sizes. Remember, individual needs may vary and many factors go into your unique needs like gender, stage of life, specific dietary goals, etc.


For specific and personalized guidance to your individual needs connect with your local nutritionist or dietician.


Tips for Portion Control Challenge

Are you up for a portion control challenge?

portion control challenge

Here are some powerful tips to help you get started:


Downsize your plates and bowls

Trick your mind into thinking you're eating more using smaller dishes. It's a visual illusion that makes you feel satisfied with less food.


Savor the moment

Take your time, chew your food well, and be fully present. It's not just about eating—it's about savoring every bite!


Hydration power

Quench your thirst with water before digging into your meal. It helps you feel fuller and prevents overeating. Water is part of your portion control journey. Many times people think they are hungry when they are really dehydrated.


One plate, one serving

Challenge yourself to serve only one plateful of food. It's all about being mindful of portion sizes. Fill it with nutritious goodies. Check in after your first plate: how do you feel? are you still hungary, are you full?


Protein power-up

Ensure every meal includes a source of protein like chicken, fish, beans, or tofu. Protein fuels your muscles and keeps you satisfied, helping you stay on track with portion control.


Packaging pitfall

Stay aware of the packaging trap! Avoid eating straight from bags or containers. Instead, portion out your snacks or meals onto a plate or bowl. It helps you see how much you're eating.


Breakfast Alternatives to Portion Control Plate

In my plate portion challenge video, I discuss how to make this change. But if you aren't yet ready for a full-blown portion control plate, here are some other tricks that may help:


Smoothie

Here's how you can up your smoothie game like a pro:

smoothie

Control the ingredients

Be mindful of what goes into your smoothie.


Aim for a balanced blend

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Protein

  • Healthy fats.

Avoid excessive high-calorie ingredients like sweeteners and syrups.


Use measuring cups or a food scale

When adding ingredients, use measuring cups or a food scale to support your portion sizes. Measure your fruits, vegetables and other ingredients accordingly.


Include protein and fats

Make your smoothie more satisfying and balanced by adding protein and healthy fats.

Great options:

  • Greek yogurt

  • Nut butter

  • Chia seeds

  • Flaxseeds

  • Protein powder


Stick to the recommended serving sizes for these ingredients.


Limit additional liquid or sweeteners

Avoid adding too much liquid like juice or added sweeteners such as honey, agave or flavored syrups. These can significantly increase the calorie content.


Omit or use them sparingly.


Choose a smaller glass

Opt for a smaller glass instead of a large one. This helps control the portion size of your smoothie, making it easier to manage.


If you don't like smoothies or it's too cold to drink for breakfast, another option is eating something warm, like an egg-based meal.


Egg-based Meal

Egg-based Meal

Master portion control with your egg-based meals using these smart strategies:


Limit the number of eggs

Keep an eye on the eggs you include in your meal. Generally, one or two eggs make a reasonable portion for a satisfying meal.


Bulk up with vegetables

Add a generous serving of veggies to your egg-based meal. Sautéed spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, or tomatoes are fantastic choices.


Veggies provide volume, fiber, and essential nutrients without packing extra calories.


Pair with whole grains

Include a serving of whole grains like whole wheat toast, quinoa, or brown rice alongside your eggs. Whole grains offer added nutrients, fiber, and energy to support your meal.


Add healthy unsaturated fats

Opt for healthy oils like olive or avocado. Add fresh avocado or salmon for a nutrient boost!


And avoid foods high in trans fat or saturated fats.


Portion Control Plate (FAQs)

What are portion control plates?

Portion control plates are special plates that make it easier to manage the amount of food you eat. They have sections of different sizes for different types of food.


Does the portion control plate work?

Yes, it does work. A portion control plate can help you manage your food intake and avoid overeating. Eating the right amount for each section of your plate can support you in feeling full without overeating.


What is portion control used for?

Portion control helps you manage your weight and prevent overeating which can support a healthier lifestyle.


What is an example of portion control?

You can divide your plate into sections: one for meat or fish, one for grains, one for vegetables/ fruits and a small section for healthy fats. Using a plate in this way makes it easier to visualize how much food to eat in each category.


What to do next?

Portion control isn’t a quick fix. It takes time and practice to change your eating habits.


The best way to do this is to keep a food diary. Jot down what you eat and drink every day.


It will help you see how much food you eat and whether it aligns with your goals.


Head to our Facebooks group, Be the CEO of Your Stress, and let us know how it’s going. We’d love to hear from you!


 

alexa hanshaw

About the Author

Alexa Hanshaw


Alexa Hanshaw is a health and stress management coach who helps women be the CEO of their stress. She empowers her clients to push past the confusion of the health and wellness industry to create lifestyle habits that bring them energy and work with their bodies instead of against it.


Join her free Facebook group, Be the CEO of Your Stress, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube for quick, easy & healthy tips on stress, health, fitness, nutrition, sleep, and how to stay mindful!

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