In our supersized, all you can eat buffet society, more Americans are obese or overweight than ever before.  While we know what we it makes a difference, we also need to focus on how much we eat.

In 1970, Americans took in an average of 2,160 calories per day. Today, it has skyrocketed to more than  2,673 daily calories per person, that is about a 25 percent increase. Today’s processed food is cheaper which makes it easier to offer larger portion sizes. For example a bagel 20 years ago was about 3 inches around and 140 calories. Today is it 6 inches and 350 calories.  A soda was just over 6 ounces at 82 calories and today it is 20 ounces at 250 calories.

One study found that modern portion sizes of popular foods added an extra 50 to 150 calories per day. While that might not sound like a lot, that can add up to an extra 10 pounds of weight in a year!

There are a number of other benefits of portion control. First, you'll condition your body to become full after consuming a smaller quantity of food. This means that controlling your portions should become easier over time. Additionally, many people find that they generally feel better and have more energy when they've eaten moderate portions.

Monitoring your portions can improve your digestion regularity as well. It also makes it easier balance your food groups. It helps to weigh our food, but we don't often have a scale handy so it is good to be able to eyeball a portion. For instance, Did you know a cup is about the size of a fist or the tip of your finger is about the size of a teaspoon? Check out this printable portion control guide from WebMD.

Here are the five best ways to learn portion control.


  • 1

    Don't Skip Meals

    If you are hungry you are more than likely to eat a larger portion than you should.  The best way to not eat large portions is to plan three well designed meals and one snack each day.  Nadine Uplinger, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and director of the Gutman Diabetes Institute at the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, said "People need to eat a minimum of three times a day, avoiding going longer than five hours without eating."

  • 2

    Measure and Weigh Food

    Make sure when you are making your planned meals you use measuring cups and if you don't have measuring cups know small hacks that will get you close to the exact measurement.  Hacks such as a cup is equal to the size of a baseball or that two tbsp is equal to the size of a golf ball.

  • 3

    Use Portion Control Plates

    We’ve all seen them in the store, the paper plates with two or three dividers on them.  This will help you portion your food according to the size of the plate not how hungry you may or not be.  

  • 4

    Skip the Restaurant

    Eating out is nice on occasion, however when you eat at home you can control the portions you eat and you know what your putting in your food.

  • 5

    Work for Your Snack

    When you feel the need for a snack during the day try food that requires shelling, peeling or individual unwrapping.  Foods such as peanuts or an orange and even edamame.  The more your work for your food perhaps the less you will eat.

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