Portion Control for a Healthy Lifestyle
Portion Control for a Healthy Lifestyle

Portion Control for a Healthy Lifestyle

Easiest Way to Attack Nutrition

I have been a nutritionist for over 20 years and have successfully used this same approach with clients.

As an older adult, you may be struggling with your weight. Of course, you want to feel and look healthy, but it is challenging. In fact, Overeating is a common tendency; there are physical and emotional reasons and let’s not forget genetics.

It all boils down to whether your body burns the calories you intake or stores them. Of course, you can count calories, remove certain foods from your diet, track exercise calories burned; however, following portion control is much easier.

Portion Control vs. Diets


Fad diets are everywhere and are very popular. In the first place, they offer a fast fix to weight loss and health changes. However, a “global diet plan” is probably not healthy for your body as each body is unique. Why put yourself through the struggle of eating plans that take away your freedom and choice? Unfortunately, diets only work 95% of time time.

Diets Suck

Let’s just admit DIETS SUCK! In light of what they tell you to do; They are deprivation by nature and psychologically are painful. Often, food labels are misleading, overly simplistic and leads to confusion. For example, recently my daughter told me she saw a label on a food item as “zero calories” – which is pretty impossible.

Diets are stressful

Analyzing each and every food you put on your plate leads to stress and anxiety. In addition, putting certain foods on a pedestal and label others as “bad for you” leads to binging, and mistakes. Not to mention leads to a whole lot of shame and guilt.

It would be much easier to worry less about what you eat and concentrate on how much you eat. In fact, by simply managing your portion sizes, you should find some weight loss, establish better eating habits and a healthier relationship with food.

Portion Control

Portion control may sound difficult; who wants to carry around scales and measure cups and spoons? In fact, there is a much easier way – use your hand. But first, let’s get more specific in defining portion control.

What is a serving size?

serving size refers to a measure listed on a label developed by the United States Department of Agriculture that is recommended in one sitting. 

Define a portion

A portion is how much food is put on your plate. Keep in mind that what you have on your plate; a portion can be small or large. For example, how many times have you gone to a restaurant, and they have filled your plate with heaping portions. In contrast, the amount is so small you can eat it all in a couple of bites. Of course, the most obvious problem with portion control is overeating, resulting in weight gain and eventually health issues.

Tools to learn portion control

I think this is one of the easiest ways to focus on losing weight.  Given that, like many diet-whisperers, I like to talk about this practical approach when starting on food management. In fact, it is also one of the tools I use if I see that scale creeping up.

Let’s take a deeper dive into portion control. With the intention of measuring portions, you can use multiple tools to measure portions. For example, spoons, measuring cups, and smaller plates.  In fact, a simple tool to use is your hand.  Hands correspond to your body size; bigger people have bigger hands. Women and men require different amounts.

Your hand is a great tool


For protein-dense foods like fish, meat, eggs, dairy, and beans. Women – use a palm-size serving. For men, it is recommended two palm-size portions at each meal.


Veggies like spinach, broccoli, carrots, etc. Women – use a fist-sized serving. For men, it is recommended two fist-size portions at each meal.


For fat-dense foods like butter, oils, nut butter, nuts/seeds. Women – use a thumb-size serving. For men, it is recommended two thumb-size portions at each meal.


For carbohydrate-dense foods like grains, fruits, or starches. Women – use a cupped hand to determine size serving. For men, it is recommended two cupped hand-sized portions at each meal.

Where to Start

Like any diet/nutrition planning using portion control is a starting point.  It is hard to know how your body will respond, so be flexible and base your portions on how you feel; “Am I hungry?”, “Do I feel full?” as well as other goals. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, you may want to eliminate carb portions from a specific meal and see how your body responds. Finally, ask yourself daily “is this working for me?” when trying to reach your healthy goals. Own your health and fitness.

There is an overwhelming amount of advice and promises out there. Making significant changes can be overwhelming. Portion control is easier and less stressful place to start!


While I won’t say that any time you attempt to change your dietary habits, it is easy. It takes some adjusting. In fact, I’ll also point out it won’t be the only tool in your tool shed, but it sure is a great place to start.

There are a few things you can add to make your nutrition healthier. See my article on “Eat Healthy Now – Avoid the Diet Later“.

Let me know if you have any questions and stop fad dieting!


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