How To Portion Your Food Properly
I just want to start off by saying that nothing fun ever comes in "portions." But, while this may be the case, portioning your food does not have to be all that bad. Just because you're keeping a leash on your diet so it doesn't run rampant, doesn't mean you can't still eat that donut or those potato chips. Moderation is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet and below are a few of the many things I've learned throughout college. Read the food labels.
Tedious? Maybe. But extremely important. No, you don't necessarily have to drive yourself crazy with the calorie count (unless you want to), but the important thing is that you at least stick to the single serving size so you don't overdo it. And how's this for a little motivation? If you don't go too wild with your main meals, you'll have some extra wiggle room for desserts/snacks. (Like my roommate's and my impromptu trip to Applebee's last night where we each got a Triple Chocolate Meltdown... [no this is not an advertisement plug, I'm serious]).
Only cook what you'll eat for that meal.
If there's one thing I've learned the hard way, it's that making a pound of pasta so I'll have leftovers does not always go as planned. I'd say nine out of ten times I'll make food in the hopes of being able to eat the remainders the next day, but I always end up eating more than expected. Because it's there. Avoid the temptation to overindulge and only make the portion you'll eat that night (ideally the serving size on the back.) Yes, it's a pain to have to cook every night, but trust me, your health will thank you.
Make sure your plate is colorful.
You will know you're not portioning your food properly if you look down at your plate and you have foods of only one color (i.e. all whites and/or browns and no pretty colors). The key to portioning your food is to make sure you're following the appropriate serving sizes and that you're not focusing solely on one food group. You cannot have a healthy diet if you're only eating carbs and starches, I know— it's unfortunate... But there are plenty of ways to prepare healthier foods that can be just as tasty.
Skip second helpings.
Some people (yes, I'm guilty) have the tendency to eat until they're full instead of just until they're no longer hungry. Skip second helpings (unless you genuinely still feel hungry) or use a smaller plate each helping.
Avoid waiting until you're starving to eat meals.
The best way to guarantee that you overeat is to go into breakfast, lunch, or dinner with your stomach growling. Try eating a granola bar while you're cooking or a few nuts before heading to a restaurant. It's best not to sit down to a meal when you're starving because then you'll eat until you have to unbutton your pants from terrible bloat.