To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume, which inevitably means one thing: portion control. But you’re not necessarily doomed to a growling stomach until you reach your goal. Portion control doesn’t mean you have to eat tiny portions of everything, you don’t want to feel like you’re on a diet, but you have to eat fewer calories.
Here are 14 easy ways to cut portions, trim calories, and lose fat without counting the minutes until your next meal:
1. Start with a glass of H2O
Drink a big glass of water before you eat. Filling your belly with water will naturally make you less likely to overeat, she says. Plus, some symptoms of dehydration may actually be what’s causing your rumbling belly, so sipping some water before you eat may eliminate your “hunger” altogether.
2. Wear form-fitting clothes
We’re not suggesting you squeeze into pants that are too tight. However, wearing an outfit with a waistband or perhaps a jacket with buttons can serve as a tool to prompt you to slow down and assess how you feel during your meal. As your clothing begins to feel a little snugger, it may keep you from going back for seconds.
3. Add veggie fillers
Bulking up your meals with veggies is one easy way to cut calories while filling you up fast, lettuce for example can be used as the base for your salad or as replacement instead of the tortilla in a taco, swap in mushrooms for half the ground meat in most recipes or add more veggies to your baguette instead of meat.
4. Dine on dinnerware that helps you lose
The color of your plate may influence how much you eat, according to a 2012 Cornell University study when a plate and the food on it had a low color-contrast it may make people eat 22% more than when there is a higher color-contrast. The study conclusions suggest that if you want to eat less, select plates that have a color-contrast to the food you’re eating for dinner. Or if you want to eat more healthy foods, like a bigger salad, eat greens from a large green plate or bowl!
5. Make carbs the topper instead of the base
Rethink the way you use grains and starches. For your meal load up your plate with veggies and a serving of lean protein, then add a quarter cup of brown rice.
6. Set the scene for slower eating
Dim lights and listen to relaxing music to set the tone for a more leisurely meal. Take your time while eating increases enjoyment and decreases portions. Remember to chew slowly, put down your fork between bites, and sip water to make your meal last longer.
7. Work for your food
Another way to slow down your eating: munch on foods that require shelling, peeling, or individual unwrapping. Edamame or shrimps and nuts in their shells are healthy options.
8. Don’t eat from the bag or box
When you sit down with a bag of chips, do you really know how many you’re eating? Researchers from Cornell University sought to answer this question in a study and found that people ate 50% more chips when they were given no visual cues as to how large a portion should be. So if you buy a bag of pretzels or tin of nuts that contains 10 servings, divide the contents of the container into 10 smaller baggies ahead of time.
9. Slurp your appetizer
Before you dive into your entrée, have some soup. Though it may seem counterintuitive to add more to your meal, research shows that starting a meal with soup may help you reduce your overall calorie intake. In a 2007 study, people who ate soup before their lunch entrée reduced their total calorie intake by 20%. Your best bet: a broth-based soup, preferably with veggies to help you feel full from the natural fiber.
10. Take a lap beofre serving yourself
In a Cornell University study, researchers observed people at two separate breakfast buffet lines that featured the same seven items: cheesy eggs, potatoes, bacon, cinnamon rolls, low-fat granola, low-fat yogurt, and fruit. One line presented the foods from healthiest to least-healthy, while the other line had the order reversed. Regardless of which line they passed through, more than 75% of diners put the first food they saw on their plates; the first three foods they encountered in the buffet made up two-thirds of all the foods they added to their plate. So take a stroll around the buffet or dinner table before you serve yourself.
11- Limit mealtime distractions
Turn off the TV and put your smartphone away while you eat. A recent study found that people who watched television during meals tended to consume more than those who ate without any distractions. And for you office dwellers? Consider taking your lunch break away from your desk, in an study, people who played computer solitaire while having lunch felt less full at the end, and went on to eat more food later in the day than those who didn’t play the game.
12. Use smaller serveware and dishes
Dish up your own food with a small utensil onto a small bowl or plate, and chances are you’ll eat less.
13. End your meal with a new kind of sweet treat
Many people have trained themselves to expect a sweet treat at the end of a meal, swap in a new, healthier ritual after meals to signal that you’re done eating. Some ideas: a tea or your favorite fruit!!