Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wellness Wednesdays: Portion Control

One of the largest challenges you face when looking to change your eating habits has to do with the types of food you consume and how much is the right amount.  For this article, I'll help you figure out the right amount of food to eat in your meals.

The first thing you should look at is what food to have on your plate.  A general rule of thumb is to have half of your plate filled with veggies, 1/4 of your plate with protein, and the other quarter with a whole-grain starch.

Good vegetables to include are a salad (with a light vinaigrette dressing), steamed/cooked broccoli, carrots or peas.  For a protein, you should choose a lean meat that is baked, broiled or grilled.  Avoid any fried meats.  A chicken breast, fish fillet, or lean steak trimmed of fat would be good.  Starches is where it can get tricky for some.  You want to choose a whole-grain starch and avoid any simple carbohydrates, especially around dinner time where they won't have enough time to burn off throughout the day.  I like to make whole-grain couscous, quinoa (I cook mine with broth and throw veggies in), brown rice, sweet potatoes or corn.

A trick to getting full while not over-eating is to eat slower.  Be sure to take time to chew your food so that it can effectively be broken down and digested.  Set down your fork between bites to help train yourself to slow down.  Talk with your meal-mates as that will slow you down too.  It takes about 20 minutes for food to reach your stomach and let you know that you are full.  How much could you scarf down during that 20 minutes just to over-tax your digestive system?  Slow down and enjoy your food.  You will feel full without the bloat and extra calories.

On my fridge I keep WebMD's portion size guide as a reference to what normal portions are.  Here's a link to that site.  There they discuss plate portions as well as normal serving sizes.  Here's a few for common foods so you can see what an actual serving should be:

Lean Beef = 3oz (deck of cards)
Cooked Rice = 1/2 cup (light bulb)
Butter/Mayo = 1 Tablespoon (poker chip)
Mashed Potatoes = 1 Cup (light bulb)
Slice of Cake = 3.5oz (deck of cards)

I encourage you to learn how to control your portions, it may be hard the first week or so but as you and your body get used to it it will become easier to shed pounds. You might even end up with more left-overs for lunch!

Written by: Crystal Warren, Representative for Power Up for PCOS which provides support to women with PCOS through educational Power Up Groups, building connections with other PCOS women, calendar of upcoming PCOS events, professional referrals and reviews, PCOS store, and other specialized events to raise money for PCOS research.  To find our more, visit, email or by calling 810-545-PCOS (7267)

Power Up for PCOS - emPowering Women to Manage PCOS

*Please note that I am not a medical professional. I am not qualified to give out any medical advice. I am a woman with PCOS who is sharing my personal experiences in this blog and I advise you to consult a professional.* 


  1. Drinking a full glass of water, getting enough sleep and eating an apple before a meal can also help with not overeating. I think portion control is fairly subjective, though, everyone burns different amounts of calories each day and what works for one person may not work for another, especially depending on the time of the month for women. I just try to listen to my body and take in lots of water, whole fruits, raw veggies, nutes, beans and legumes.

  2. I agree it's important to learn to listen to your body. I didn't know how to listen to mine until I started eating better and wanted to take control of my health.