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Adult Portion Sizes—6 Tips To Eating Healthy For A Healthier You

adult food portion

A lot of Americans struggle to maintain a healthy weight. 

Eating a well-balanced diet with calorie-dense foods is important to your overall health. 

However, it’s not just the foods you’re choosing that matter. It’s also necessary to consume suitable portion sizes.

If you struggle to maintain a healthy body weight, portion control could be your issue. 

Today, we will discuss what you should know to choose healthy adult portion sizes for your meals. 

We’ll also share some of our top tips for helping you choose food portions without using measuring cups and scales. 

Read on to learn more.

Adult Portion Sizes

A portion refers to how much food you eat. 

Portion control is one of the most efficient ways to maintain a healthy body weight. Now, there isn’t a simple answer to determine the correct portion sizes for every adult. 

How much food you eat will depend on many factors, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Metabolism
  • How active are you
  • Your goals (Do you want to gain or lose weight? Or are you trying to maintain your current weight?)

One of the easiest ways to determine how many calories you should eat weekly is to review the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This guideline informs people what (and how much) to eat to live a healthy lifestyle.

However, you don’t need to bring a guideline every time you make or order a meal. 

Below are some helpful tips on choosing the correct portion sizes.

adult food portion

1. Use Your Hands As Measurement For Portion Sizes

When you read food labels, there will be suggested serving sizes. This general average is used to show the nutrition facts on the food label. 

Since everyone’s body is different, every person will require a slightly different portion size than the next.

Your hands can be used as a guide to determine the correct portion sizes of certain food groups. This is a good way for people to figure out portion sizes because it’s proportioned to your body size. 

Here is how people can use their hands to estimate portion size.

  • Palm-size proteins. The ideal protein portion is the size of your palm. For women, it’s the size of 1 palm, and for men, it’s the size of 2 palms.
  • Measure fats with your thumb. When using oils and butter, women should use one thumb-sized amount, while men should use two thumbs to measure.
  • Cup your hands to measure high-carb foods. This can be done for cooked pasta, brown rice, and whole grains. One cupped hand is a portion for women, while two cupped hands are for men.
  • The size of your fist is the ideal portion for fruits and vegetables. One fist is a portion for women, while two fists are for men. Most people are shocked when they see how much fruit and vegetables are recommended by dietary guidelines daily. However, once you know what a portion size really is, eating the recommended amount seems more realistic.

Determine Your Portion Size By Your Plate

You don’t have to have your portions down to an exact science to eat the right amount. 

Using your plate to control portion sizes is a great way to determine how much food to eat. This means you serve a portion of each food group based on how much space it takes on one portion of the plate.

  • Half of your plate should consist of produce (1 cup of vegetables, salad, fresh fruit)
  • 1/4 of your plate should be lean protein (lean meats, poultry, fish, beans- try to avoid processed meats)
  • 1/4 of your plate is for complex carbs (whole grains, cooked rice, starchy vegetables- baked potato, sweet potato fries, etc.)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fat (butter, olive oil, low-fat cheese, peanut butter, cream cheese)

How To Determine Serving Size

The serving size is different from the portion. 

Serving sizes measure a single serving of food, such as 1 tbsp or 1 cup. This differs from a portion because a portion is how much you eat. 

Food makers use serving sizes to create informative labels with the nutritional content listed.

When controlling portions, you can benefit from knowing about recommended serving sizes.

Every person has a set amount of calories they should consume each day. Knowing your serving sizes can help you prepare your food with the proper portions in mind.

People should use recommended serving sizes to determine how many calories they eat daily. However, they should not base their portion sizes on the serving size on the labels of packaged foods. 

It’s more important to base your portions on the recommended daily calorie intake for your age group, size, and lifestyle.

Tips For Portion Control

Portion control is an easy and efficient way to consume fewer calories with every meal. One of the main reasons some people struggle to lose weight is that they eat large portions even though they don’t need to. 

If you typically eat everything on your plate, it’s time to start putting smaller portions on it.

You can still enjoy a healthy meal and feel fulfilled eating smaller portions. 

If you want to start eating smaller portions and stay healthy without feeling hungry, follow our tips below.

1. Drink Water Before A Meal

It’s more common than you may realize to mistake thirst for hunger. This causes people to eat more than they need to when they should have been consuming a hydrating beverage. 

A great way to naturally eat smaller portions is to drink a glass of water before eating. You won’t feel like eating as much if you drink 8 to 16 ounces of water approximately 30 minutes before a meal.

2. Order Smaller Beverage Sizes

Many adults have a habit of treating themselves to a go-to beverage. This could be a latte, iced coffee, or low-fat blended drink. 

There’s no harm in treating yourself to one of these drinks. However, you can consume less sugar, fat, and calories if you start ordering a smaller size.

Many adults are in the habit of ordering the same size as they can consume. For example, if you can easily finish a large low-fat vanilla latte, ordering a large one each time you stop at your favorite coffee shop is easy. 

However, by cutting down to a small cup, you can still enjoy your drink but consume less sugar and calories.

adult food portion

3. Portion Control When Dining Out

Eating out is where a lot of people struggle when it comes to portion control. This is because restaurant portions are huge. 

Many restaurants will serve people a meal they could easily split into two. This causes people to consume a higher amount of saturated fats and calories.

So, what can you do about the size of restaurant meals?

You can enjoy eating out without overeating or wasting food in two ways. First, you should look for restaurants that allow customers to order a half portion. 

This is when they serve smaller portions of popular menu items.

The other thing you can do is bring your takeout container. Choose a menu item that you enjoy eating leftovers. 

Before you start eating, place at least half of it in your container. 

This way, you won’t be tempted to eat larger portions. You can bring the rest home for later.

4. Think Before You Order

Takeout food can be very convenient for people who have a busy schedule. One of the biggest mistakes people make when ordering takeout is getting more food than they need.

Combo meals are a big culprit have getting people to consume more calories than they need or want. This is when a restaurant offers a side dish and beverage, a main dish, or a sandwich for a discounted price. 

However, most people will be filled full with just the sandwich. They don’t need the extra side or sugary beverage, but the discounted price makes them think it is worth it.

Think about how hungry you actually are before you place a takeout order. 

You won’t need to order the extras if you haven’t worked up your appetite. This will help you consume fewer saturated fats and less sugar.

5. Smaller Dishes

Did you know that reducing your plate size can help you reduce your calorie intake? This is because many people prepare their meal size based on the plate or bowl they’re eating from. 

If you eat meals from large plates, your portions will appear smaller than they are. A smaller bowl can also help people avoid overeating dairy foods, like yogurt and ice cream.

The smaller dish is an excellent method for people who are used to finishing all the food on their plates. It’s unlikely that they’ll notice the smaller portions as well. 

Many people notice that they are satisfied taking smaller cuts of meat and only half of a baked potato.

Using smaller-sized cups is a good idea if you enjoy beverages with added sugars. This allows you to satisfy your sweet tooth still while consuming less sugar and calories.

Eating smaller portions could help you reduce your risk of health complications like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

6. Eat Slowly

Eating your meals slower is a very efficient way to reduce how many calories you’re consuming. 

Many people eat too fast. The body needs around 20 minutes to signal to the brain that it’s full. 

Eating too fast means that when your brain realizes you’re full, you will have overeaten.

If you want to avoid eating too quickly, make sure you aren’t distracted while eating. Refrain from eating meals while watching TV, driving, or around other distractions. 

Eating with another person is recommended because you won’t eat as quickly when conversing with someone.

Final Words

Many Americans are guilty of consuming extra calories in their daily diet.

 By reducing your portion size, you can consume fewer calories and maintain a healthy weight. 

It’s also important to make sure you’re making healthy choices, such as eating lean protein and leafy greens.

Always check the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to find your ideal daily calorie intake. This will help you choose the right portion sizes.

Are you planning on making healthier choices with your meals? Let us know which tips you plan to follow in the comments below.

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