If you cut 500 calories a day from your diet, you will lose weight. Here’s an easy way to do just that without changing anything about the foods and drinks you consume: Eat smaller portions. Prevention magazine calls portion control “the gold standard if you want to lose weight.” Gareth Hollands, a Cambridge University medical researcher, led a team that examined the results of more than 60 studies on food intake and concluded that cutting back on serving size alone will shave, on average, 527 calories a day. Keep it up and you’ll lose one pound a week. There is just one, huge gotcha: It’s hard. It’s very hard. We have been supersizing our portions for so long that we have forgotten (or never knew) what is considered to be a reasonable portion.
Dr.Lisa Young, author of “The Portion Teller,” gave Prevention five tips on how to downsize your portions:
1. When dining in a restaurant, split an entree. Almost all restaurants serve oversized meals, so walk in with the idea of splitting an entree with your dining partner. Each of you can get a salad or vegetable side dish of your own. Never dine at an “all-you-can-eat” buffet. That’s just asking for trouble!
2. Use smaller plates. Downsize your plate, which will go a long way in reducing how much food ends up on it.
3. Learn what appropriate portion sizes look like. Click here to match portion sizes with objects. For example, three ounces of fish is about the size of a checkbook, while one serving of fruit is the size of a tennis ball.
4. Learn how to fill your plate. Fill half your plate with low-calorie, fiber-rich fruits and veggies that aren’t coated in butter or cream sauce. Put a lean protein on one-quarter of your plate and a whole-grain carb, such as brown rice or sweet potatoes, on the rest of it.
5. Serve food in the kitchen, not at the table. Fill your plate in the kitchen and keep serving dishes there so you’re forced to get up for seconds rather than reach across the table.