Tania's Blog

How to Keep Portion Sizes in Check!

How to Keep Portion Sizes in Check!

If and when you bake do you find yourself tasting and tasting (I know I do!)? Oh and then of course you must test the finished product right!?

After which said baking is sitting there staring at you daily...ugh! It’s so hard to stop at just 1… 

Portion sizes are tough, I feel you!  This is one reason I don’t bake lol  So just one cookie or mini muffin may have been sufficient however good old addictive sugar (‘natural’ or not) has you repeatedly headed back for more and you have no idea how many you’ve polished off..

Baking aside, even health foods add up.  A 3 oz serving of baked or broiled salmon has ~180 calories so if you double that you’re at almost 400 cals.  One level tbsp. of almond butter has almost 100 calories and most people don’t measure or level off the tbsp..  It's usually a heaping tbsp (or two) and that's 200 calories not including the bread your putting it on..

In order to keep portions in check I like to think about HOW I want to feel..  Do I want to give into the urge to eat this sweet thing or to eat more food (hello instant gratification!) or do I want to feel proud that I am keeping portions in check, feeling good, not stuffed, and that I'm supporting my long term goal of a healthy body (long term success).  

Now don't get my wrong, I like to have a treat as much as the next person however if we give into instant gratification every time then we aren't being consistent enough to achieve that long term success.

When our daughters were younger we sometimes attended 3 birthday parties in a weekend.  If I would have said yes to the cake at all of those parties not only would I have been in sugar overload but I know that I'd have felt crappy about overdoing it.  If one of those would have been my favorite kind of cake I may have said yes or even asked for a sliver but the super sweet cake with the 1/4 inch thick bright blue icing - I would politely decline.

It always comes down to how we really want to FEEL doesn't it?

Here are some quick tips to help keep portions in check.

*please note that these portions are a good place to start however portion sizes will range based on size, activity level, goals, etc.

  • Use your hands as your guide – a serving of protein is approximately the size and thickness of your palm.  A serving of carbohydrate about the size of your cupped hand.  A serving of fat about the size of your thumb.  A serving of non starchy veggies is at least 1 fist sized serving, and go for two -fill up on those nutrient dense veggies!

  • Measure or weight it - a serving of protein is about 3-4 oz cooked, a serving of carbohydrates about 1/2 cup prepared, a serving of healthy fats about 1/2 tbsp-1tbsp for oils and nut butters, about 1/4 avocado, or about 10-15 nuts.  A serving of fruit (carbohydrate) is one average sized fruit or 1/2 large, 1/2 cup of berries or grapes, or a cup of melon.
  • Plate it out – ½ plate of non starchy veggies, ¼ plate of good quality protein, and 1/4 plate of carbs, with ½ tbsp – tbsp of good fat.
  • When eating out - when you get a large portion you can ask to have it split and packed up before you even start.  This way your food isn't sitting there staring at you calling you to eat just one more bite when you know that you've had enough.  Bonus - you'll have leftovers too!
  • Know how many ‘serving sizes’ are in a package - when you are reading an nutrition label be sure to check how many servings are in a package and stick to one serving.

I hope that this helps you to keep your portions in check.  Learning what portions should look like is a good exercise in order to easily create balanced meals and snacks.

Oh and don't forget HOW you want to feel.   







I obtained my Personal Training and Health Coach Certifications from The American Council on Exercise. I also have a nutrition certification through Precision Nutrition, which is a program that seemed tailor made for me as they teach a common sense approach to nutrition that is closely aligned with how I live. Obtaining these certifications along with the development of life coaching skills have allowed me to feel confident in my knowledge and ability to help my clients find their way.

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