The Biggest Little Thing You Can Do for Your Plate

My brother was visiting last weekend, and I noticed he had slimmed down quite a bit. He’s never been a large person, but the change was obvious. When it came up in conversation, he mentioned he’d had some nagging health issues he wanted to get the upper hand on. So he made some changes and is getting closer and closer to accomplishing what he set out to do. Well done, brother!

When I asked him specifically how he had made such great strides, he told me about the “biggest little” thing you can do for your plate, something that will make a huge impact not just on your waistline but on your overall health. It’s not a new concept, and as long as you eat healthy foods, you don’t even have to give anything up. This biggest little thing is the lost art of portion control.

Surely, this idea—filling your plate with an appropriate amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats—sounds at least vaguely familiar to you. In any case check out this simple visual guide that Whole30 has created as a resource. I love it. It shows you how to use your own hand as a tool for proper portions at mealtime. Chances are pretty good your hands are involved with every meal you make, so no special equipment is required. 🙂 (If you use another method to control portions at mealtime, please post a video of it in the comments below!)

The cool thing about committing these visuals to memory is that they make healthy eating so much simpler for you. You don’t need to count calories or weigh out your food, which seems to be a big ol’ stumbling block for many people. There’s a good chance, in fact, that this method alone can get you to your goal of losing weight and improving your health.

While I couldn’t find any scientific data on when portion control became a lost art, I have a sneaking suspicion it dates back to just before the onset of our current diabesity epidemic. Seems to make sense, anyway, dontcha think?

At home a simple way to get your meals back into proportion is by using a smaller plate. A salad plate is a great option. At about two inches smaller than a typical dinner plate, it allows you to adjust to smaller portions without feeling cheated that your plate isn’t as full.

Restaurants tend to give us much larger portions than we need. You can easily restrict how much you end up gulping down by asking your server to immediately put half of your food in a to-go container. This way, you don’t have to rely on your self-control to avoid overeating—plus it’ll give you a no-brainer lunch for the next day.

And should you need someone to jog your memory about what the healthiest options are for those portions on your plate, Nina Planck has you covered with her book Real Food: What to Eat and Why. With Nina’s easy, friendly style of writing, you’ll know what choices you should be making and be able to share that knowledge with others.

I’m always amazed how the little things we choose to do consistently can have such a big impact on the way we feel each day. Portion control is something I’ve started focusing on with each meal, and I’ll tell you, I don’t miss feeling stuffed when it’s all said and done!

How about you? Are you willing to commit to the biggest little thing you can do for your plate?

Image from iStock/Scrofula

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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