During all these months at home, it’s been easy to sit in front of the TV, spread out a huge array of food, and eat for an hour…nibbling on this and that…because it’s fun while chilling with a movie.  Am I right?  This started me thinking about portions, and how that seems to be so important with maintaining a good habit of eating in a healthy manner.  After all, it’s not fun to eat and eat, and then an hour later feel bloated and stuffed.  Not fun, at all!

Here are a few ideas on portioned eating and keeping our stomachs and bodies a bit happier and healthier this month…and maybe these habits will stick with us!

One plate rule – There’s this deli we frequent and you can get a one plate salad bar (well, when the salad bar was open) or a return trip salad plate.  Opting for one plate rule when eating at home can help so much.  Keep the food in the kitchen, fill your plate one time, put away the rest in the fridge, and retire to the sofa and enjoy.

Slowly chew – Instead of wolfing down the meal you’ve just prepared, take a bite, put your fork down, and chew.  These rules aren’t new, but they help to remind us to enjoy and savor, not gulp and gag.

Small snacks help – I’ve found that if I eat a few nuts or trail mix in the mid-morning hours, it curbs my appetite and I’m not so likely to overeat when lunchtime comes.  But when I’m starving?  Forget it.  I’m so hungry, all the above rules go out the window!

A big bottle of water – It’s true that drinking a big glass of water staves off hunger and fills your belly, so then hopefully you won’t overeat when dinner is served.  In fact, a good drink of water during your meal, to pause between bites, is helpful as well.

Sectioned plates or bentos – I love bento boxes and have mentioned them before.  They have little squares, and they’re so cute.  I think filling those squares and making the food so pretty helps to enjoy each bite and not eat so much.

Share – If you make a big batch of chocolate walnut bars (we recently did!) then share the love. Portion out a few in bags and give to your kids…or someone…so that you only have say a half dozen at home. Portion one into a snack bag, and only allow yourself one a day.

Don’t do it – Don’t order huge meals any more, when you’re getting takeout or eating on patios.  Whomever you are with, ask if they want to share maybe an appetizer and a plate.  You’ll be SO GLAD when you’re finished, that you didn’t eat that huge pile of food by yourself.  And your stomach will smile, as well.

Of course, we all need to move and exercise and walk and all the things.  But even that won’t help, if we’re piling up food and eating without stopping, during a 2-hour movie.  Go ahead and enjoy your meal.  But make the portions small, make it cute and pretty, and fill in your stomach growls with a tiny healthy snack or a huge drink of water.

We are trying to do this…and some days we do…and some days we don’t.  But trying is good.  Right?

Portioned Eating
by Marcy Lytle

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