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Maggie Jover: Reducing portion sizes for better health

Many of us will set “eating healthier” as a New Year’s resolution for 2013. One way to achieve this resolution is by reducing portion sizes. Most of us eat more than we realize.

With just a small amount of time planning ahead, you can decrease your daily food/calorie consumption by reducing your meal portion sizes by a modest amount.

Remember, eating 100 calories less per day could mean a 10-pound weight loss in a year!

Most people will not notice the cutback, but meanwhile you have been contributing to a healthier lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you have a healthier new year:

* Prepare your meal plate and put the leftovers away before eating. Remember, out of sight, out of mind, plus you will not be tempted to eat more after the meal while you are cleaning up and storing the leftovers.

* Repackage foods into serving sizes before storing/serving. Do not eat from the packages food or snacks come in.

* Use a small plate or bowl and small fork as your brain still thinks you have eaten a full plate of food even though it is just a smaller plate.

* Cook several meals at the same time and freeze in meal-size containers. By pre-portioning meals, you create a stopping point in your eating. You will tend to eat less as you will have had time to think about whether you really want or need to eat more.

* Serve up your plate with small portions. Your eyes are usually larger than your stomach and what you need. Most people have been trained by their family to eat all the food on their plate, even if they are full.

* Stay away from chips, dips, candy, soda and sweets. These need to be foods that you eat only once in a while.

* Learn to say “no, thank you” to yourself or others when offered food after you are full or have just eaten a meal.

* Use a portion divided plate to give you a good sense of how the different food groups should be portioned.

* Measure and/or weigh portions until you are acquainted with reasonable portion sizes. Guessing how much you should eat can be inaccurate and deceptive.

Practicing portion control can help you attain that New Year’s resolution of eating healthier.

MAGGIE JOVER is the family and consumer sciences extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2882.