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 “ideas” 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. At the moment, 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 “Learn how to drop 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 ideas and tips we are able to 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. 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 could possibly take about 20 minutes to your physique to return round to the truth that it’s full, so slowing down your meals will help you eat much less.[3]
  4. Use a meals journal. Recording every part you eat and drink is a good way to grow to be conscious of parts, which will help you management them.[4] The truth is, 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, they usually’re good to remember and in addition apply.

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

That is our primary advice for find out how to drop pounds

A gif from the Simpsons that says "interesting."

Research[4] after examine[5] after examine[6] reveals that our our bodies obey the legal guidelines of thermodynamics and that with a purpose to drop pounds, we have to burn extra energy than we eat often.

  • Whenever you eat extra energy than you burn, your physique tends to retailer these further energy as fats (weight acquire).
  • Whenever 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 actual “energy in” generally is a actual ache. Not solely that, however many individuals with sure character traits can grow 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 executed earlier than) and be militant about monitoring, is it doable to “observe” your meals with a excessive degree of accuracy with out having it take over your life?

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

Portion Sizes: Learn how 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 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 have 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 Vitamin

We’re not going to fret about being actual. 

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

Nevertheless, utilizing your palms 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 essential sufficient to deserve their very own class)
  • Carbohydrates (suppose 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 realized that utilizing your hand as a information is essentially the most useful technique for portion management:

  • You won’t at all times have entry to small plates.
  • You would possibly overlook 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 enable you to degree up your wholesome consuming.

When doubtful, match the meals in entrance of you to your hand and keep on.

Let’s break this down a little 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 collection.

In it, Coach Lauren and Justin focus on 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 all the way down to eat.

In different phrases, whenever 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 (hen, 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

Relating to 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 goal 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 goal 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 you must prioritize protein and greens if you happen to’re battling portion management:

  • Protein. Consuming sufficient protein will help your well being as you age.[10]Loads of protein may 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 excellent for a wholesome plate. Plus, the fiber won’t solely assist your well being, it’ll additionally hold your indoor plumbing in correct order.[13]

Within the video that kicks off this part, Coach Justin makes an excellent level: goal for a little bit higher than you might be right now.

Which means if you happen to don’t actually plan your meals in any respect, begin by having ONE meal embrace a superb 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 perhaps you make hen stir-fry this week. 

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

We’ll shut out right now’s information with some extra concepts on find out 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 have to portion them out appropriately.

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 scale, so one cupped hand.

Examples of wholesome carbohydrates:

You additionally need to be sure you’re together with wholesome fats in your food 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 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 not too long ago 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-fat 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 fully ditch each meals teams both. 

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

Right here’s why you might want to 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 excellent supply of fast power, particularly fruit.[16] 
  • Fat. Some vitamins like Vitamin A are fat-soluble, that means they’re finest absorbed alongside some fats.[17]Fats may even enable you to really feel full, which will help with general portion management for the day.[18] Whereas a little bit goes a good distance, you wouldn’t need a “zero fats” food plan.[19]

Simply watch out right here.

Once we analyze the diets of our teaching shoppers who can’t appear to drop pounds, it’s virtually 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 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 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 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.

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

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

And so long as you might be constant together with your measuring strategies, then you’ll be able to regulate your parts primarily based in your progress!  

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

Learn how to 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.

You too can 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 a fast body of reference for portion sizes:

  • The most important 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 deal with the large image.

These are some cool glass containers if you happen to’re searching for one thing to purchase.

Learn how 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 as if 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.

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 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 so forth.

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

Additionally, if you happen to get hungry after consuming solely half your meal, no drawback. Simply eat the opposite half. Even if you happen to’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 hold consuming?

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

This query alone will help with portion management.

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

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

Learn how 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 nicely and good to construct a wholesome plate at dwelling, however…

  • What if you happen to’re at a restaurant? 
  • What if you might want to order a sandwich?
  • How about pizza?

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

#1) Learn how 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 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 generally is a little avocado. 

This is a gif of an avocado


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

#2) Learn how to Portion Management Chili or Soup

This generally is a little harder when every part is blended 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 might be onion, garlic, and tomatoes (once more a fruit, however who cares).
  • Your carbs might be pinto and/or kidney beans.
  • Your fats generally is a little little bit of cheese sprinkled on prime.

Certain, perhaps 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, perhaps simply consider the top product in thoughts:

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

#3) Learn how to Portion Management Pizza

This can be a little trickier as a result of pizza is generally 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, can 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 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 truly 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’ll be able to fear about portion controlling your carbs and fats. 

In the event you need assistance alongside the way in which, we acquired 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 stated earlier than, we train portion management to our shoppers who wrestle with overeating, so we’ll present a non-judgmental knowledgeable that will help you attain your targets.

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

#2) If you’d like an actual blueprint for leveling up your diet, take a look at Nerd Health Journey! Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you train extra steadily, eat more healthy, and degree up your life (actually).

In the event you observe our Vitamin 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’d like good folks such as you in our group, the Nerd Health Rebel.

Enroll within the field under to enlist and get our Insurgent Starter Equipment, which incorporates all of our “work out at dwelling” guides, the Nerd Health Eating regimen Cheat Sheet, and way more!

Alright, I need to hear from you:

Do you could have any ideas 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, 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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