A LEGO holding some seafood, which looks like a big portion size.

It’s time to discover ways to portion management!

There are all kinds of “ideas” and “tips” on the market, however in the present day we’re going to indicate you one of the best technique.

What makes me so assured?

For a lot of of our On-line Teaching shoppers, we create portion management methods for weight reduction that don’t suck. In the present day, we’ll share them with you too!

Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

Let’s do that thang!

What Are 5 Strategies for Portion Management?

This photo shows a LEGO in front of his food chart, where he determines portion sizes.

As you may know from our “The right way to shed some pounds” information, the important thing to sustainable weight reduction is getting ourselves to eat fewer energy in a manner that doesn’t make us depressing. 

As a result of our brains and our bodies are difficult emotional disasters, there are some ideas and tips we will implement to guard us from…ourselves.

4 Methods for Portion Management:

  1. Use smaller plates. Of us will typically eat what’s positioned in entrance of them, so utilizing smaller dinnerware has been proven to assist folks eat much less.[1]
  2. Drink a glass of water earlier than your meal. For those who chug a glass of water half-hour earlier than you intend on consuming, the H20 will take up some room in your abdomen. This may enable you eat much less.[2]
  3. Take it gradual. It could possibly take about 20 minutes in your physique to come back round to the truth that it’s full, so slowing down your meals may help you eat much less.[3]
  4. Use a meals journal. Recording every thing you eat and drink is a good way to turn out to be conscious of parts, which may help you management them.[4] In reality, one of many first missions we’ve Nerd Health Prime members full is making a meals journal. 

All of those strategies will work to some extent, and so they’re good to bear in mind and likewise follow.

Nevertheless, nothing will get extra constant outcomes than really studying the variety of energy within the meals you eat (Portion Management Tip #5)!

That is our primary suggestion for how you can shed some pounds

A gif from the Simpsons that says "interesting."

Examine[4] after examine[5] after examine[6] reveals that our our bodies obey the legal guidelines of thermodynamics and that as a way to shed some pounds, we have to burn extra energy than we eat usually.

  • If you eat extra energy than you burn, your physique tends to retailer these further energy as fats (weight acquire).
  • If you burn extra energy than you eat, your physique will pull from fats shops for power (weight reduction).

Nevertheless, as we level out in our Energy In, Energy Out information, figuring out your precise “energy in” could be a actual ache. Not solely that, however many individuals with sure character traits can turn out to be neurotic about monitoring each single calorie. They fear in the event that they go 1 calorie over their every day allotment. 

So, what’s a nerd to do? 

Except you’re going to weigh out all of your meals (one thing I’ve finished earlier than) and be militant about monitoring, is it attainable to “monitor” your meals with a excessive stage of accuracy with out having it take over your life?

The reply: sure, by getting darn good at estimating! 

Portion Sizes: The right way to Portion Management (The Greatest Methodology)

A plate that that contains a portion of protein, healthy carb, veggies/fruit, and unsweetened drink.

You already carry with you one of the best technique for portion management.

Your fingers!

This gif shows the Terminator looking at his hand, who realistically doesn't have to worry about portion control.

Even if in case you have robotic fingers.

We’re going to make use of them to construct a wholesome plate, as proven above.

The “Nerd Health Wholesome Plate” was initially revealed in our Information to Wholesome Consuming, which was impressed by our buddies over at Precision Vitamin

We’re not going to fret about being precise. 

It’s actually onerous to be exact anyway.[7]

Nevertheless, utilizing your fingers as a instrument for portion management gives a “ok” technique that may assist your meals consumption:

This graph shows servings sizes for protein, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fats, based off the size of your hand.

As you’ll be able to see, we’re going to focus our portion management technique on:

  • Protein
  • Greens (technically carbs, however vital sufficient to deserve their very own class)
  • Carbohydrates (suppose starches and fruit)
  • Fats

Every macronutrient will correspond to an space of your hand, to present you a way of what a correct portion measurement needs to be. 

We’ve discovered that utilizing your hand as a information is essentially the most useful technique for portion management:

  • You won’t all the time have entry to small plates.
  • You may neglect to drink water earlier than every meal.
  • You may need a brief lunch break with out the posh of consuming slowly.
  • You may develop uninterested in logging all of your meals consumption.

Nevertheless, having an intuitive sense of what meals needs to be eaten in what parts will enable you stage up your wholesome consuming.

When unsure, match the meals in entrance of you to your hand and keep it up.

Let’s break this down a little bit by speaking about protein and veggies. 

What’s the Appropriate Portion Measurement Half 1: Protein and Greens

The above video is taken from Nerd Health Prime, as a part of our NF Kitchen collection.

In it, Coach Lauren and Justin focus on the 2 most vital elements of each meal: 

Right here’s one thing that may appear counterintuitive: our #1 suggestion for portion management isn’t about limiting meals. As an alternative, be sure you get a correct serving of protein and greens each time you sit all the way down to eat.

In different phrases, once you start your wholesome consuming journey, don’t even fear about nixing any particular meals. Simply be sure you are leaving loads of room for protein and greens.

A serving of protein is concerning the measurement and thickness of your palm:

A serving of protein should be about the size of your palm, like so.

Protein can come from any variety of sources, together with:

  • Meat (steak, bison, pork).
  • Fowl (rooster, turkey, duck).
  • Eggs![8]
  • Fish and shellfish (salmon, tuna, shrimp).
  • Legumes (black beans, chickpeas).

Not a meat-eater? Learn our huge plant-based information!

A serving of veggies is concerning the measurement of your fist:

A serving of veggies should be the size of your first (or greater).

Right here’s a fast, non-complete listing of veggies that may fill half your plate:

  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Asparagus

In the case of studying portion management, begin by ensuring you eat sufficient protein and greens.

How a lot?

As we focus on in our protein information, when constructing a plate purpose for the next quantity of protein:

  • Dudes: 1-2 servings (6-8 oz or about 170-228 g): two palms
  • Dudettes: 1 serving (3-4 oz or about 85-114 g): 1 palm.

For greens, in follow you’ll be able to most likely eat as a lot as you’ll be able to abdomen (the fiber will possible gradual you down), however purpose for about 2 fist fulls at most meals, or about half your plate.[9] 

Don’t like veggies? I used to be as soon as such as you. Try 10 methods to make greens style good

Right here’s why it is best to prioritize protein and greens in the event you’re fighting portion management:

  • Protein. Consuming sufficient protein will help your well being as you age.[10]Loads of protein can even enable you retain and develop muscle.[11] Plus, prioritizing protein will enable you keep full and satiated between meals.[12]
  • Greens. Veggies are each excessive in vitamins and low in energy, which makes them excellent for a wholesome plate. Plus, the fiber is not going to solely assist your well being, it’ll additionally maintain your indoor plumbing in correct order.[13]

Within the video that kicks off this part, Coach Justin makes an awesome level: purpose for a little bit higher than you’re in the present day.

That means in the event you don’t actually plan your meals in any respect, begin by having ONE meal embody an excellent protein supply and a few veggies.

A gif of fast food being replaced by less processed food, which needs to be portion controlled less.

So possibly you make rooster stir-fry this week. 

After you have that win beneath your belt, you’ll be able to purpose for doing a little bit bit extra subsequent week (TWO meals that embody protein and veggies).

We’ll shut out in the present day’s information with some extra concepts on how you can get going.

Earlier than we get there, we have to discuss what else can go into your wholesome plate. 

What’s the Appropriate Portion Measurement Half 2: Carbs and Fat

After making room in your plate for protein and greens, what’s subsequent?

As Coach Lauren and Justin point out within the Nerd Health Prime video above, it’s time to incorporate some wholesome carbohydrates and fat!

Relying on what health camp you end up in and your historical past of “weight-reduction plan,” consuming carbs and fat may make you nervous. 

However as Coach Lauren factors out, they’ve a objective on our wholesome plate! You simply must portion them out appropriately.

A serving of carbohydrates is about two fingers cupped collectively:

Showing you a serving of carbs

If it’s raw, it’s about half the dimensions, so one cupped hand.

Examples of wholesome carbohydrates:

You additionally need to be sure you’re together with wholesome fats in your weight loss plan too.

Fats is definitely essentially the most calorically dense macronutrient, so comparatively it’ll take up much less room in your hand.

Here’s a serving of fats, roughly the dimensions of your thumb!

A serving of fat should be about your thumb!

Wholesome fats may be present in meals like:

  • Avocado 
  • Almonds 
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Almond butter 
  • Peanut butter

The explanation folks name it “wholesome” is as a result of the fats is unsaturated, though science has not too long ago come round on saturated fats too within the right quantities.[14]

We cowl this intimately in our Information to the Keto Weight loss program.

Saturated fat can come from issues like:

  1. Complete milk
  2. Full-fat dairy
  3. Coconut oil
  4. Grass-fed butter
  5. Lard
  6. Fatty cuts of meat

In the case of portion management, we have to pay shut consideration to carbohydrates and fat, as a result of that is the place folks have the tendency to overeat. 

Nevertheless, that doesn’t imply we need to utterly ditch each meals teams both. 

A scene from the Princess Bride where the grandpa says "wait."

Right here’s why that you must eat these two macronutrients:

  • Carbohydrates. Do you know fiber is a kind of carbohydrate? Yep. As we talked about earlier, you want loads of fiber for good well being.[15] Carbs are additionally an awesome supply of fast power, particularly fruit.[16] 
  • Fat. Some vitamins like Vitamin A are fat-soluble, that means they’re greatest absorbed alongside some fats.[17]Fats can even enable you really feel full, which may help with total portion management for the day.[18] Whereas a little bit goes a great distance, you wouldn’t desire a “zero fats” weight loss plan.[19]

Simply watch out right here.

After we analyze the diets of our teaching shoppers who can’t appear to shed some pounds, it’s nearly all the time as a result of they’re overeating carbs or fat.

If you end up on this group, check out your hand the following time you sit all the way down to eat:

  • How a lot pasta are you serving your self? It ought to match inside your cupped fingers.
  • How a lot olive oil did you place in your salad? It needs to be concerning the measurement of your thumb or a tablespoon. 
  • How massive is your serving of peanut butter, REALLY? One serving, a tablespoon, is concerning the measurement of a walnut:

This photo shows a serving of peanut butter, which is about the size of the walnut next to it.

Bear in mind: you don’t need to get this good. You simply must be fairly good more often than not.

Even simply consciously interested by in case your portion sizes are beneath or over is a superb begin.

And so long as you’re constant together with your measuring methods, then you’ll be able to alter your parts based mostly in your progress!  

You may also discover some particular plates or containers useful when serving your self. 

The right way to Use Portion Management Containers and Plates

One hack Coach Justin makes use of is straightforward Tupperware containers to portion management his meals:

Justin holds up the container he uses to portion control his meal.

You can too use some glass containers too if you wish to get fancy:

Here Coach Justin holds up his meal, held in a portion control container.

Don’t stress about discovering the proper container that precisely holds every macronutrient you want.

The purpose right here is that you’ve a fast body of reference for portion sizes:

  • The biggest portion of the container: greens go right here.
  • The 2 smaller parts: are in your protein and carbs.
  • The small little holder: your fat go right here.

Once more, don’t stress in case your container doesn’t match this description precisely. We’re all working off estimates right here, so let’s give attention to the massive image.

These are some cool glass containers in the event you’re searching for one thing to purchase.

The right way to Management Portion Sizes When Consuming Out

This photo shows a LEGO looking at a dog, who probably wants a portion-controlled taco.

An space of concern when trying to portion management is eating out.

It looks like eating places serve you twice the quantity of meals that you simply want.

Right here’s what Coach Justin does within the state of affairs: ask for a to-go field as quickly as you place your order.

Yeah, it’s a little bit bizarre, however as quickly as you get your meals, place half of it within the container.

Growth! An additional meal for later. 

Since this adorable dog portion controls, he's walking home with his meal for later.

One other factor to think about: eating places need you to depart feeling full.

They typically do that by piling on the carbs. Assume further bread, a lot of rice, loads of pasta, and many others.

So it’d make sense to separate these parts in two, and also you’re set for lunch the following day.

Additionally, in the event you get hungry after consuming solely half your meal, no drawback. Simply eat the opposite half. Even in the event you’re nonetheless on the restaurant.

The purpose is to consciously take into consideration how a lot you’re consuming. A break midway by can be utilized as a choice tree: 

Ought to I maintain consuming?

Maggie Simpson pushing back from a table cause she's full.

This query alone may help with portion management.

One very last thing: we all know consuming out at eating places is usually a household or friend-bonding expertise, so we’d desire you ENJOY the night time. Meals is extra than simply energy. 

Simply plan for it! For those who eat a very giant dinner for a celebration, eat barely smaller parts for the following day or so and your physique might be proper again on monitor. 

The right way to Portion Management for Weight Loss (Subsequent Steps)

Within the video above, Coach Lauren and Justin stroll you thru consuming a Nerd Health Wholesome Plate IRL (In Actual Life).

It’s all effectively and good to construct a wholesome plate at residence, however…

  • What in the event you’re at a restaurant? 
  • What if that you must order a sandwich?
  • How about pizza?

Listed here are some ideas from the Coaches for portion management IRL:

#1) The right way to Portion Management a Sandwich

The trick right here is to pack in as many greens as you’ll be able to. Yeah, you’re most likely not going to get two fist fulls in, however you’ll be able to squeeze in a number of spinach, onion, sauerkraut, and tomato (yeah, it’s technically a fruit, whatevs) in your sandwich. 

  • Your carbs may be some sort of whole-grain bread (you are able to do an open-face sandwich if you wish to restrict this). 
  • Your protein can come from some turkey. 
  • Your fats could be a little avocado. 

This is a gif of an avocado


You now have a turkey sandwich that matches our wholesome plate technique.

#2) The right way to Portion Management Chili or Soup

This could be a little harder when every thing is blended collectively.

For those who’re making it your self, maybe you measure out your hand parts as you cook dinner.

  • Put a palm-size portion of floor beef in.
  • Your greens may be onion, garlic, and tomatoes (once more a fruit, however who cares).
  • Your carbs may be pinto and/or kidney beans.
  • Your fats could be a little little bit of cheese sprinkled on high.

Certain, possibly you’re doing lower than two fistfuls of greens, and greater than a cupped hand of carbs (beans).

It doesn’t matter. Once more, the purpose is you’re placing a little bit thought into correct parts.

For those who’re consuming out and ordering soup or chili, possibly simply consider the top product in thoughts:

“After portioning every thing out, it needs to be about two fistfuls of meals. In order that’s what I’ll eat. All the things else I’ll take residence.”

#3) The right way to Portion Management Pizza

It is a little trickier as a result of pizza is usually bread (carbs).

However Coach Justin has an answer for this.

First, he eats one thing he’s happy with, like a salad. 

Then he parts out his pizza, which if he makes use of his hand technique, could be about two slices:

Justin holds up his hands, to show how he portion controls foods like pizza.

Is it good?


Does it assist Coach Justin attain his targets and permit him to nonetheless take pleasure in life?


So experiment a little bit by creating some tough tips, see how you are feeling, and course-correct as you go.

Bear in mind, any step you tackle leveling up your vitamin is nice.

Wayne is stoked that he made his small change for weight loss.

For those who don’t know the place to start out, I really suggest you start by not worrying about what to take OFF your plate, however as a substitute what so as to add! 

Make sure that each meal you eat has a wholesome protein supply and a vegetable. After you have that dialed in, THEN you’ll be able to fear about portion controlling your carbs and fats. 

For those who need assistance alongside the best way, we obtained you.

Listed here are 3 ways to proceed your journey with Nerd Health. 

#1) Our On-line Teaching program: a training program for busy folks to assist them make higher meals selections, keep accountable, and get more healthy, completely.

As I mentioned earlier than, we train portion management to our shoppers who wrestle with overeating, so we’ll present a non-judgmental professional that will help you attain your targets.

You may schedule a free name with our group so we will get to know you and see if our teaching program is best for you:

#2) In order for you an actual blueprint for leveling up your vitamin, try Nerd Health Journey! Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you train extra often, eat more healthy, and stage up your life (actually).

For those who comply with our Vitamin missions, you’ll be taught to portion management whereas incomes XP! Sah-weeeet.

Strive your free trial proper right here:

#3) Be part of the Revolt! We want good folks such as you in our neighborhood, the Nerd Health Revolt.

Join within the field beneath to enlist and get our Insurgent Starter Equipment, which incorporates all of our “work out at residence” guides, the Nerd Health Weight loss program Cheat Sheet, and far more!

Alright, I need to hear from you:

Do you’ve gotten any ideas or tips for portion management?

Do you employ the hand technique that we lined in the present day?

What’s your greatest problem with portion sizes?

Tell us within the feedback!


PS: For those who’re simply beginning your weight reduction journey, be sure you try:


Photograph Supply: Recent lobster rolls, bean-there-donut-that-40358-2, Taco trike, Peanut/Walnut

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