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Putting Your Portions In Perspective

How are you doing with our November Healthy Habit of being more portion aware?  We're collecting lots of great tips from our Cooking Light community on how they keep portions in check, which will be featured in the upcoming Healthy Habits book. We also tapped several leading nutrition experts to tell us their thoughts about managing portions. Here's a sneak peek at what a few of them had to say...

Jill Castle, MS, RD, pediatric nutritionist and blogger, Just the Right Byte

"When eating out, be aware of words that warn of portion distortion -- value meal, combo, ultimate, tub, supreme, biggie, deluxe and super size.  It may be tempting to think more is better, but in this case, more is calories."

New York University's Lisa Young, PhD, RD, author of The Portion Teller Plan and one  of the country's leading experts on portion control

"People eat in units -- one bagel, one muffin, one soda or one steak -- and they don't really pay attention to how big that unit is. Just because you're eating one of something, it doesn't mean that's the appropriate amount of food you should be eating."

Michelle May, MD, mindful eating expert, blogger and author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat

"Once you have the amount of food you think you'll need, physically divide it in half on your plate to remind yourself to stop half way and check in again. This little 'speed bump' will slow you down so you can reconnect with your hunger and fullness level."

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, blogger, A Weight Lifted

"Think of portion sizes as a place to start.  It builds in an automatic stopping place that gives you the opportunity to think if you really want more.  Then pay attention to your internal hunger cues.  If you decide you want more, that's fine to have a second helping. But you're making a conscious decision rather than just eating all that's on your plate.

Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, blogger, Eating Free

"Popular diets tend to demonize certain foods like potatoes, pasta, cheese and even fruit, yet the reality is no food is fattening unless you over consume it.  Food is not the problem, your portions are.  I think it's important to eat with pleasure and without guilt. Just keep sight of how much you're eating."

I especially liked Manuel's message that no food is fattening unless you over consume it.  It really all comes down to portions.  You can enjoy all foods as long as you're not over-doing it.  One way to keep tabs on your portions is to write down what you eat, at least for a few days.  It can be a real eye-opener.  Many of our readers said they rely on mobile apps to help do the tracking.  What about you?  Have you found some tricks to help you manage your portions?  Let us know what works for you!