10 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy Portions

Many factors influence how much we eat. Try these tips to tackle common portion pitfalls and satisfy your grumbling stomach.

How to Eat What You Love

Diabetes shouldn't equal deprivation. Moderation is key, and following a few tips can avoid bad habits that leave you with feelings of guilt. From pizza to potatoes, we give you options to enjoy the foods you crave.

Favor Whole, Fresh Foods

Processing foods tends to concentrate the calories and carbohydrate. Consider this: For 15 grams of carb, you could eat either 4 fresh apricots or just 1/2 cup apricots canned in juice. And for 15 grams of carb, you could eat either 1-1/4 cups strawberries or a mere 1-1/2 tablespoons all-fruit strawberry preserves.

Train Your Eyes

A typical 12-ounce baked potato at restaurants has 70 grams of carb, whereas 3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) of boiled red-skin potatoes has just 17 grams of carb. Weigh or measure spuds, rice, and other foods at home so you'll be able to more accurately size up portions when eating out.

Avoid Eating Near Serving Dishes

Dish up foods from the kitchen counter -- not the dinner table, says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., a Cornell University researcher and author of Mindless Eating (Bantam, 2010). "Our studies show that if you place a big bowl of pasta on the table, men eat 29 percent more and women eat 10 percent more than if the bowl wasn't nearby."

Choose Thin Crust

How many pieces of pizza you're able to enjoy depends largely on how thick the crust is and what you top it with. Some specialty pizzerias offer whole wheat crusts, which tend to be more filling. If you make your own crust, simply trade up to half the all-purpose flour for whole wheat. Not into kneading? Pizza dough is a cinch to make using the dough cycle of a bread machine.

Whole Grain Pizza Crust Recipe

Think Thin

Slim sandwich buns save you up to 15 grams of carbohydrate and 100 calories per serving compared with traditional buns. What's more, thinner buns allow you to enjoy the flavor of sandwich fillings more. Also try thin bagels, very thinly sliced bread, and extra-thin corn tortillas.


Size Down Dinnerware

"We eat 92 percent of whatever we serve ourselves," says Brian Wansink, Ph. D., author of Mindless Eating. His research also shows that if you use a 10-inch plate instead of a 12-inch plate, you'll serve yourself 22 percent less food. And if you use a table spoon instead of a typical serving spoon to dish up food, you'll serve about 14 percent less.

Chew Well

Simply chewing food more helps decrease hunger hormones. In a recent study, men who chewed each bite of a meal 40 times consumed 12 percent fewer calories than when they chewed each bite only 15 times. Savor each bite, too. "Take time to roll food around in your mouth and enjoy the flavor and change in texture as you chew," says Cleveland Clinic psychologist Susan Albers, Psy.D.

Pour a Tall Glass

Research out of Cornell University shows that drinking liquids out of taller glasses makes us think we are drinking more than we actually are. "It's an optical illusion," says Cleveland Clinic psychologist Susan Albers, Psy.D. "People tend to focus on the height versus the width of the liquid in the glass."

Watch Out if You Can't Eat Just One

In a recent Yale University study, when 39 women were shown chocolate milkshakes, it activated the same areas of the brain that light up when drug addicts see cocaine. Overcoming the compulsion to eat highly pleasurable foods (chips, fast food, candy bars) generally takes about two weeks of avoiding the problem food altogether, says obesity expert Robert Pretlow, M.D., of Seattle.


Follow Food with Fun

"If you're eating one of your favorite foods and are worried it may be tough to quit after one serving, give yourself something enjoyable to do as soon as you're done eating that food -- so you have a reason to stop," says Michelle May, M.D., author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat (Am I Hungry? Publishing, 2011).


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