Vol. 7, Issue 6November 2015


Cutting Portion Sizes -- Painlessly

You know that many Americans eat portions that are way too large, and that can contribute to obesity and other health issues. But when you try to cut back, you end up feeling hungry. has some practical suggestions for eating less without feeling like you’re missing something:

  • Have a glass of water before you start eating. That can fill your stomach and make you feel more full. Plus, drinking water is good for you in many ways, and a lot of people don’t drink nearly enough.

  • Avoid eating in sweatpants. If you wear something that has a fitted waist, you are more likely to feel full sooner. You don’t have to squeeze into something two sizes too small; just try not to eat in your jammies.

  • Add vegetables. They are full of fiber, which makes you feel full sooner and stay full longer. Plus, they are full of vitamins and antioxidants. So throw some broccoli into your pasta or stir-fry.

  • Use the right dishes. A study from Cornell University suggests that people eat smaller portions when there is a contrast between the color of their food and the color of their plate. So, for example, put white fish on a red plate, or serve spaghetti with marinara on a white dish. Also, choose smaller dishes. There is a natural tendency to fill your plate – and then to eat it all. If you start with a smaller plate, you usually will serve yourself less.

  • Use carbs sparingly. For example, don’t have a bowl of granola and fruit for breakfast. Instead, have yogurt and put a little granola and some fruit on top.

  • Set the mood. Many people eat almost mindlessly, in front of the TV or while they are checking their smartphone or even standing up at the kitchen counter. Eat mindfully. Set the table with real dishes. Turn down the lights and use candles. Chew slowly, and drink water in between bites. Not only will you eat less, but you will enjoy it more.

  • Put forth some effort. Eat nuts that you have to crack, fruit that you have to peel, food that you have to unwrap.

  • Don’t snack right out of the bag. Instead, measure out a reasonable portion of pretzels or chips or nuts or whatever, and put them in a bowl. Then put the bag back in the pantry.

  • Have soup as an appetizer, but choose a broth-based with vegetables, rather than a cream-based soup. Soup is healthy, and it fills you up so you eat less at the main part of your meal.

  • If you are choosing items from a buffet, check out the entire buffet before you start to fill your plate. Most people going through a buffet line choose more of the first foods they come to, which might not be the healthiest choice.

  • If you have a drink with dinner, put it into a tall, thin glass and add lots of ice. The glass will make you think you are drinking more than you actually are, and the ice will melt and continue to replenish your drink.

  • If you feel that a meal is not complete without something sweet at the end, try a flavored tea like peppermint. If that is not enough, limit yourself to a small piece of dark chocolate or the like.