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

It’s time to discover ways to portion management!

There are all types of “suggestions” and “tips” on the market, however right now we’re going to point out you the very 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. As we speak, 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 would possibly know from our “How one can shed pounds” information, the important thing to sustainable weight reduction is getting ourselves to eat fewer energy in a means that doesn’t make us depressing. 

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

4 Methods for Portion Management:

  1. Use smaller plates. Of us will usually eat what’s positioned in entrance of them, so utilizing smaller dinnerware has been proven to assist individuals eat much less.[1]
  2. Drink a glass of water earlier than your meal. In the event you chug a glass of water half-hour earlier than you propose on consuming, the H20 will take up some room in your abdomen. This would possibly enable you to eat much less.[2]
  3. Take it gradual. It may possibly take about 20 minutes to your physique to come back round to the truth that it’s full, so slowing down your meals can assist you eat much less.[3]
  4. Use a meals journal. Recording every thing you eat and drink is a good way to grow to be conscious of parts, which can assist you management them.[4] In reality, one of many first missions we’ve got 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 remember and likewise follow.

Nonetheless, 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 advice for the way to shed pounds

A gif from the Simpsons that says "interesting."

Research[4] after examine[5] after examine[6] exhibits that our our bodies obey the legal guidelines of thermodynamics and that in an effort to shed pounds, we have to burn extra energy than we eat often.

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

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

So, what’s a nerd to do? 

Until you’re going to weigh out all of your meals (one thing I’ve performed earlier than) and be militant about monitoring, is it doable to “observe” 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: How one can Portion Management (The Finest Technique)

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

You already carry with you the very 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 when you’ve got 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 printed in our Information to Wholesome Consuming, which was impressed by our mates over at Precision Diet

We’re not going to fret about being actual. 

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

Nonetheless, 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 possibly can 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 (assume starches and fruit)
  • Fats

Every macronutrient will correspond to an space of your hand, to offer you a way of what a correct portion dimension ought to be. 

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

  • You may not at all times have entry to small plates.
  • You would possibly neglect to drink water earlier than every meal.
  • You might need a brief lunch break with out the luxurious of consuming slowly.
  • You would possibly develop uninterested in logging all of your meals consumption.

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

When doubtful, 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 sequence.

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

Right here’s one thing which may appear counterintuitive: our #1 advice for portion management isn’t about limiting meals. As a substitute, ensure you get a correct serving of protein and greens each time you sit right down to eat.

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

A serving of protein is in regards to the dimension 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 (hen, turkey, duck).
  • Eggs![8]
  • Fish and shellfish (salmon, tuna, shrimp).
  • Legumes (black beans, chickpeas).

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

A serving of veggies is in regards to the dimension of your fist:

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

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

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

On the subject 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 intention 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 possibly can in all probability eat as a lot as you possibly can abdomen (the fiber will possible gradual you down), however intention 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. Take a look at 10 methods to make greens style good

Right here’s why it’s best to prioritize protein and greens in case you’re battling portion management:

  • Protein. Consuming sufficient protein will help your well being as you age.[10]Loads of protein will even enable you to retain and develop muscle.[11] Plus, prioritizing protein will enable you to keep full and satiated between meals.[12]
  • Greens. Veggies are each excessive in vitamins and low in energy, which makes them perfect 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 important level: intention for a little bit higher than you might be right now.

That means in case you don’t actually plan your meals in any respect, begin by having ONE meal embody 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 hen stir-fry this week. 

Upon getting that win underneath your belt, you possibly can intention for doing a little bit bit extra subsequent week (TWO meals that embody protein and veggies).

We’ll shut out right now’s information with some extra concepts on the way to get going.

Earlier than we get there, we have to speak about 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 would possibly make you nervous. 

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

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 scale, so one cupped hand.

Examples of wholesome carbohydrates:

You additionally need to ensure you’re together with wholesome fats in your weight-reduction 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 scale of your thumb!

A serving of fat should be about your thumb!

Wholesome fats could be present in meals like:

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

The rationale individuals 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. Entire milk
  2. Full-fat dairy
  3. Coconut oil
  4. Grass-fed butter
  5. Lard
  6. Fatty cuts of meat

On the subject of portion management, we have to pay shut consideration to carbohydrates and fat, as a result of that is the place individuals have the tendency to overeat. 

Nonetheless, that doesn’t imply we need to fully ditch each meals teams both. 

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

Right here’s why it is advisable 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 important supply of fast power, particularly fruit.[16] 
  • Fat. Some vitamins like Vitamin A are fat-soluble, which means they’re finest absorbed alongside some fats.[17]Fats will even enable you to really feel full, which can assist with general portion management for the day.[18] Whereas a little bit goes a great distance, you wouldn’t desire a “zero fats” weight-reduction plan.[19]

Simply watch out right here.

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

If you end up on this group, check out your hand the subsequent time you sit right 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 ought to be in regards to the dimension of your thumb or a tablespoon. 
  • How huge is your serving of peanut butter, REALLY? One serving, a tablespoon, is in regards to the dimension of a walnut:

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

Keep in mind: you don’t should get this good. You simply have to be fairly good more often than not.

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

And so long as you might be constant together with your measuring strategies, then you possibly can regulate your parts based mostly in your progress!  

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

How one can Use Portion Management Containers and Plates

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

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

It’s also possible to 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 got a fast body of reference for portion sizes:

  • The biggest portion of the container: greens go right here.
  • The 2 smaller parts: are to 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 concentrate on the massive image.

These are some cool glass containers in case you’re in search of one thing to purchase.

How one can 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 just 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 go away feeling full.

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

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

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

The purpose is to consciously take into consideration how a lot you’re consuming. A break midway via 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 can assist with portion management.

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

Simply plan for it! In the event you eat a very massive dinner for a celebration, eat barely smaller parts for the subsequent day or so and your physique will probably be proper again on observe. 

How one can 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 nicely and good to construct a wholesome plate at residence, however…

  • What in case you’re at a restaurant? 
  • What if it is advisable order a sandwich?
  • How about pizza?

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

#1) How one can Portion Management a Sandwich

The trick right here is to pack in as many greens as you possibly can. Yeah, you’re in all probability not going to get two fist fulls in, however you possibly can squeeze in loads of spinach, onion, sauerkraut, and tomato (yeah, it’s technically a fruit, whatevs) in your sandwich. 

  • Your carbs could 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 is usually a little avocado. 

This is a gif of an avocado


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

#2) How one can Portion Management Chili or Soup

This is usually a little more durable when every thing is combined collectively.

In the event you’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 could be onion, garlic, and tomatoes (once more a fruit, however who cares).
  • Your carbs could be pinto and/or kidney beans.
  • Your fats is usually 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.

In the event you’re consuming out and ordering soup or chili, possibly simply consider the tip product in thoughts:

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

#3) How one can Portion Management Pizza

This can be 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 objectives and permit him to nonetheless get pleasure from life?


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

Keep in mind, any step you tackle leveling up your diet is nice.

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

In the event you don’t know the place to begin, I really advocate you start by not worrying about what to take OFF your plate, however as an alternative what so as to add! 

Make sure that each meal you eat has a wholesome protein supply and a vegetable. Upon getting that dialed in, THEN you possibly can fear about portion controlling your carbs and fats. 

In the event you need assistance alongside the best way, we bought you.

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

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

As I mentioned earlier than, we educate portion management to our shoppers who battle with overeating, so we’ll present a non-judgmental knowledgeable that can assist you attain your objectives.

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

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

In the event you comply with our Diet 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 Insurrection! We’d like good individuals such as you in our neighborhood, the Nerd Health Insurrection.

Enroll 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 rather more!

Alright, I need to hear from you:

Do you have got any suggestions or tips for portion management?

Do you employ the hand technique that we coated right now?

What’s your greatest problem with portion sizes?

Tell us within the feedback!


PS: In the event you’re simply beginning your weight reduction journey, ensure you try:


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

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