Tips for Healthy Eating and Portion Control - if you are looking for a simple effective way to manage portion sizes this is the post for you. With tips for how to naturally control your portions using healthy vegetables you will discover this is a delicious and nutritious way to stay on track.
- Do I have to add vegetables to my plate to control portions?
- A Balanced Plate Equals Healthy Portions
- I don’t like most vegetables, so what can I do?
- Tips for adding vegetables to your meals
- Examples of how to include Vegetable in Meals
- Why am I always hungry?
- Can I lose weight without calorie counting?
Do I have to add vegetables to my plate to control portions?
That is a question asked by many especially if you are not a huge lover of vegetables, but when it comes to healthy eating they can play an important role, so it's a good idea to get used to eating them in some form or another on your plate. .
I am therefore, hoping this post will help you understand the benefits of adding vegetables to your plate and the role they play in controlling portions.
Look at this plate for instance, a bowl of ground beef tomato pasta. It's all homemade, relatively low in calories so you could just eat this meal and still be in a calorie deficit. However it might not be enough to fully satiate you and when that happens it can lead to us overeating by filling our plate with more or grabbing stuff in between meals and if you continue with this cycle it's not going to help on your healthy eating plan. So what can we do to improve?
Well firstly, there are vegetables in the homemade tomato sauce to help bulk it out (such as onions, garlic and tomatoes), but it is nowhere near enough, so let's remove some of the pasta from the bowl and instead add some salad to bulk out the bowl. Obviously it doesn't have to be a salad, it can be any kind of vegetables of your choosing. So opt for what ones you enjoy the most.
A Balanced Plate Equals Healthy Portions
Now doesn’t that look better? I nice healthy balanced plate.
This is why adding vegetables to your plate to bulk it out is such a clever concept, you have naturally reduced the portion of the other foods on your plate without the need to weigh foods or count calories in any of your meals. So naturally you will be eating better, your portion controls are managed and therefore you will naturally lose weight. This is much more maintainable long term.
The reasons diets don't work is because they are too restrictive and for some the constant counting of calories and weighing foods becomes a chore and they then give up a resort to previous eating habits. To lose weight however you need to be in a calorie deficit, so if you are not going to stick to the rigid counting of calories, you need to have another method to reduce your portions while also keeping you satiated.
Here is a handy visual image for giving you an idea of how much of your plate should be vegetables. Remember though this is just a guideline, there will be the odd time when you just don't fancy vegetables or the meal doesn't really fit them, that is perfectly okay, but if you can stick to this template as much as possible you will naturally reduce your calories.
I don’t like most vegetables, so what can I do?
That is a response I see very often, and it is fact that there are many people who do not like vegetables and who struggle to add these to their plate. So how can you get these foods into your meal and naturally limit your portion of the other foods? Well if you do really struggle to add it to your plate. Try making yourself a homemade soup with lots of vegetable added and serve it in a small bowl as part of your plate for the ½ vegetables or maybe make yourself a veggie packed smoothie, you can add a little fruit to make it more enjoyable if you need to, but limit how much you add due to the high sugar content.
Get into the habit of trying vegetables in different and new ways too, this will make them more interesting and you may surprise yourself by discovering vegetables you though you disliked before. For example I hate brussel sprouts when I was younger, that horrid bitter taste stayed with me for years, but that is because I was only ever served them over boiled. Now I absolutely loved them raw and shredded in a salad or sauteed or roasted. Yum!!
Tips for adding vegetables to your meals
There are many ways you can add them to your meals. As I mentioned before, if you struggle adding it to your plate, you can always start your meal with a bowl of soup made with lots of healthy vegetables or in a small bowl as part of your plate so you can visually see the portion.
Another way to increase vegetables is by bulking out things like spaghetti bolognese, chilli, shepherds pie etc with lots of veggies. I know this will not be exactly to the template but so long as vegetables equate to ½ of your whole plate that is fine also.
Make veggies more interesting through the way you choose to cook them. There are Vegetable spiralizers that are now available where you can literally spiral any vegetable and turn it into something delicious. Cauliflower rice and mash is another good one to choose .
Examples of how to include Vegetable in Meals
Below I will do some examples at each meals times of how you can add speed foods to your meals.
- Veggie packed smoothies (add a little fruit to make it more palatable if needed)
- cooked breakfast can have things like tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, spinach etc added to them
- Breakfast sandwiches are great filled with some grilled tomatoes and baby spinach
- Omelettes/Frittatas are great for packing in some veggies.
- Add a mixed salad to your plate (things like lettuce, onion, beetroot, tomatoes, cucumber and apple are all great in salads),
- Add some roasted veggies to your plate (courgettes, aubergine, onion, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, beetroot are all delicious roasted)
- Vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, with a little stock added, some black pepper and a bit of cheese and then baked in the oven is a great way to add some vegetables to your plate and is super delicious too, can also make vegetables more palatable for those that are slightly aversed by veggies in their plain state.
- Replace mash/chips with things like roasted butternut squash or mashed swede/carrots or celeriac chips
- Make a ratatouille which is great served alongside meats/carbs
- Spiral some veg and have that in place of pasta/noodles
- Replace rice with cauliflower rice
- When cooking things like spaghetti bolognese, chilli, stir fries or shepherds pie etc, use less meat and bulk out with lots of vegetables (onion, courgette, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, bean sprouts etc)
- Enjoy a small bowl of veggie packed soup as part of your main course.
- or another great option is to make a yummy vegetable packed soup and top it with some filling protein like sausage, cooked meat like steak, or chicken, grains or legumes
Why am I always hungry?
Firstly, consider whether you are truly hungry or if it is merely a result of boredom. Sometimes, the desire to eat can become a habit rather than a genuine indication of hunger.
Could you possibly be thirsty or not consuming enough fluids? Try drinking water or your favorite low-calorie beverage, and then assess whether the sensation you're experiencing is truly hunger.
Additionally, examine the types of foods you are consuming. Protein plays a vital role in meals as it keeps us satiated for longer periods and our bodies require more energy to process it. If you combine this with recommended low-calorie, nutrient-dense meals that incorporate healthy carbohydrates and fats, you should generally not experience excessive hunger.
If you have implemented these strategies and still find yourself seeking food, it is likely due to boredom or habit. In such cases, try engaging in non-food activities that can distract you from thinking about eating and fill your time more productively.
Can I lose weight without calorie counting?
Yes it is possible, but within reason, because at the end of the day if you eat more than your body physically needs regardless of what healthy eating regime you are on, you will not lose weight. To lose weight we need to be in a calorie deficit even if we are not stricting counting calories and this template will help you achieve a calorie deficit without the need for rigid calorie counting and weight of foods if you stick to it as much as possible.
Another thing to consider is the size of plate you are serving your meals on. Visually we are more satisfied if we see a full plate, it tricks the mind to think we are eating a big satisfying meal, if you have a huge plate with a small teeny portion on it, you will feel unsatisfied. So choose smaller dinner plates or bowls for following the template.
We should also be trying to recognize when we are satisfied and not get to the point where you feel stuffed. It is something that is very hard to do, but is easier to obtain when sticking to the template above.
A good tip I also do when preparing my meals, is to think vegetables first when it comes to planning my meals. So for example plan the vegetables on your plate first and then add the other foods.
Something I also tend to do (not always, but most of the time) is serve my meals on a smaller plate or bowl,
Here are some of my veggie packed sides to give you inspiration for some dishes to serve on your plate.
Check out this Handy Image you can pin to remind you of portion control