Eating smaller portions is not always as easy as it sounds.
In restaurants, they invariably serve portions much larger than you would take if you were serving yourself. I decided a long time ago that I would eat until I felt full, and not feel guilty about leaving the rest. My husband and children often end up eating the rest or taking it home in a doggie bag. I often solve this problem by ordering two starters and no dessert, which is a somewhat less noticeable way to go about it.
In the old days, when you were invited to people’s houses for dinner, food would be served in large serving dishes. It was easier to take small portions. These days, the tendency is to arrange everything prettily on the plate, and although portions tend to be smaller when handled in this manner, they are still too large for me. When I see that there is too much on my plate, I try to diplomatically and politely let the host or hostess know that I eat like a bird so that they won’t feel hurt if I leave food on my plate.
At home, it should be easier, but it isn’t always. My husband loves to do the food shopping, so he buys the same quantity for me as for himself. I eat about a third or half of it, and so as not to throw it away, he eats what’s left on my plate. This is neither logical nor economical. At home, another approach is to simply buy smaller plates, so that when you serve yourself your plate looks full despite the fact that there is actually less food. Others say eating with a larger fork helps you eat less, so you might want to invest in a few larger forks and give it a try.
I love this Mayo Clinic slideshow for maintaining portion sizes, which uses common visual cues to remind you of appropriate serving sizes.
In developed societies, we have a tendency to feel secure when there is more than enough to eat. We can all understand that, because starvation has always been one of the primary concerns of humankind, but that does not mean we have to wolf down vast quantities of food, much more than is necessary to obtain our nutritional requirements.
When you sit down at the table or when you are shopping, take the above things into account. In so many ways, our society pushes us to each much more than we need. Inform yourself about just how much you need, and eat that quantity. It takes training and self-discipline; it takes politesse and diplomacy, and sometimes it even means waste, but you have to look after your health, both mental and physical, and no one but you can do that.
- Jonell Galloway: Mindful Eating Coaching
- What is Mindful Eating?
- Will the “lost decade” change our wasteful ways when it comes to food?