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

It’s time to learn to portion management!

There are all kinds of “ideas” and “methods” on the market, however as we speak we’re going to indicate you the very best technique.

What makes me so assured?

For a lot of of our On-line Teaching purchasers, we create portion management methods for weight reduction that don’t suck. Right now, 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 “The best way to shed weight” information, the important thing to sustainable weight reduction is getting ourselves to eat fewer energy in a approach that doesn’t make us depressing. 

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

4 Methods for Portion Management:

  1. Use smaller plates. People 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. 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 show you how to eat much less.[2]
  3. Take it gradual. It may take about 20 minutes to your physique to come back round to the truth that it’s full, so slowing down your meals might help you eat much less.[3]
  4. Use a meals journal. Recording every thing you eat and drink is an effective way to turn out to be conscious of parts, which might help you management them.[4] Actually, one of many first missions we have now Nerd Health Prime members full is making a meals journal. 

All of those strategies will work to some extent, they usually’re good to remember and likewise apply.

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 advice for learn how to shed weight

A gif from the Simpsons that says "interesting."

Research[4] after research[5] after research[6] exhibits that our our bodies obey the legal guidelines of thermodynamics and that with the intention to shed weight, we have to burn extra energy than we eat usually.

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

Nevertheless, 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 turn out to be neurotic about monitoring each single calorie. They fear in the event that they go 1 calorie over their day by day allotment. 

So, what’s a nerd to do? 

Until you’re going to weigh out all of your meals (one thing I’ve executed earlier than) and be militant about monitoring, is it potential 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 best way to Portion Management (The Greatest Technique)

If your meal plate looks like this, you're doing a lot of the heavy lifting for weight loss.

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

Your palms!

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 palms.

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 pals over at Precision Diet

We’re not going to fret about being actual. 

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

Nevertheless, utilizing your palms as a software for portion management supplies a “adequate” 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 essential sufficient to deserve their very own class)
  • Carbohydrates (assume starches and fruit)
  • Fats

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s the Appropriate Portion Dimension 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 talk about the 2 most essential elements of each meal: 

Right here’s one thing that may appear counterintuitive: our #1 advice for portion management isn’t about limiting meals. As a substitute, be sure you get a correct serving of protein and greens each time you sit right 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 record of veggies that may fill half your plate:

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

Relating to studying portion management, begin by ensuring you eat sufficient protein and greens.

How a lot?

As we talk about 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 apply you’ll be able to in all probability 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’s best to prioritize protein and greens should you’re fighting portion management:

  • Protein. Consuming sufficient protein will help your well being as you age.[10]Loads of protein may even show you how to retain and develop muscle.[11] Plus, prioritizing protein will show you how to keep full and satiated between meals.[12]
  • Greens. Veggies are each excessive in vitamins and low in energy, which makes them very best 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: purpose for a bit higher than you’re as we speak.

That means should you don’t actually plan your meals in any respect, begin by having ONE meal embrace 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. 

Upon getting that win underneath your belt, you’ll be able to purpose for doing a bit bit extra subsequent week (TWO meals that embrace protein and veggies).

We’ll shut out as we speak’s information with some extra concepts on learn how 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 Dimension 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 goal on our wholesome plate! You simply must portion them out accurately.

A serving of carbohydrates is about two palms 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 probably 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 might be present in meals like:

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

The rationale folks name it “wholesome” is as a result of the fats is unsaturated, though science has lately come round on saturated fats too within the appropriate quantities.[14]

We cowl this intimately in our Information to the Keto Eating regimen.

Saturated fat can come from issues like:

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

Relating to 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 sort 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 vitality, particularly fruit.[16] 
  • Fat. Some vitamins like Vitamin A are fat-soluble, that means they’re greatest absorbed alongside some fats.[17]Fats may even show you how to really feel full, which might help with general portion management for the day.[18] Whereas a 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 purchasers who can’t appear to shed weight, 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 right down to eat:

  • How a lot pasta are you serving your self? It ought to match inside your cupped palms.
  • How a lot olive oil did you place in your salad? It ought to be concerning the measurement of your thumb or a tablespoon. 
  • How large 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 excellent. You simply must be fairly good more often than not.

Even simply consciously desirous about in case your portion sizes are underneath or over is a superb begin.

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

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

The best 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 right 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: these 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 give attention to the massive image.

These are some cool glass containers should you’re on the lookout for one thing to purchase.

The best 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 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 bit bizarre, however as quickly as you get your meals, place half of it within the container.

Increase! An additional meal for later. 

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

One other factor to contemplate: eating places need you to go away feeling full.

They typically do that by piling on the carbs. Assume additional bread, numerous 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 following day.

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

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

Ought to I maintain consuming?

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

This query alone might help with portion management.

One very last thing: we all know consuming out at eating places is usually a household or pal 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 extremely giant dinner for a celebration, eat barely smaller parts for the following day or so and your physique will likely be proper again on monitor. 

The best 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 house, however…

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

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

#1) The best 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 in all probability not going to get two fist fulls in, however you’ll be able to squeeze in a variety of spinach, onion, sauerkraut, and tomato (yeah, it’s technically a fruit, whatevs) in your sandwich. 

  • Your carbs might be some sort of complete 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) The best way to Portion Management Chili or Soup

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

In the event you’re making it your self, maybe you measure out your hand parts as you prepare dinner.

  • Put a palm-size portion of floor beef in.
  • Your greens might be onion, garlic, and tomatoes (once more a fruit, however who cares).
  • Your carbs might 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 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. All the pieces else I’ll take house.”

#3) The best way to 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 pleased 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 excellent?


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


So experiment a bit by creating some tough pointers, see how you’re 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.

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

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

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

Listed below 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 decisions, keep accountable, and get more healthy, completely.

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

You possibly can schedule a free name with our crew 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 leveling up your vitamin, take a look at Nerd Health Journey! Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you train extra steadily, eat more healthy, and stage up your life (actually).

In the event you observe our Diet missions, you’ll be taught to portion management whereas incomes XP! Sah-weeeet.

Attempt your free trial proper right here:

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

Join within the field beneath to enlist and get our Insurgent Starter Package, which incorporates all of our “work out at house” guides, the Nerd Health Eating regimen Cheat Sheet, and far more!

Alright, I need to hear from you:

Do you will have any ideas or methods for portion management?

Do you utilize the hand technique that we lined as we speak?

What’s your largest problem with portion sizes?

Tell us within the feedback!


PS: In the event you’re simply beginning your weight reduction journey, be sure you take a look at:


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


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