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4 tricks to keeping your portions down

Dr Sandro Demaio

When dishing up, choose your plate or bowl wisely

Credit: nib health insurance

I love food, which means that I love going back for seconds, and sometimes even thirds.
But I also know the importance of consuming healthy-sized meals, not so small that I don’t get enough sustenance and not so large that my waistline will suffer.

Let me share with you some of my tricks to help keep your portions down.

1. Choose your dish wisely

Now you’ve probably heard this one before; it’s an age-old hack that’s stood the test of time, and it involves a trick of the eye. When dishing up, choose your plate or bowl wisely. If you go for something smaller, this will make it appear as though your plate or bowl is fuller and will also limit the amount of food you serve up. Using excessively large dishes will encourage you to serve yourself a much larger serving without even realising.

2. Make friends with salad

Another way to keep your portions down is to make a salad, perhaps packed with leafy greens, cucumbers and avocado, to accompany your main dish. I love eating this first – sometimes while I’m even still cooking the main event! This will take up more room on your plate, leaving less room for the star of the show, whether it be a rich tomato spaghetti, a herby risotto or a veggie stir-fry.

Jessica Sepel's rainbow salad served in a bowl

3. Keep hydrated

Alongside a salad, I always like to accompany my meal with a glass and a jug of water on the table. It helps me stay hydrated and fills my belly, but it also helps me slow down my eating pace so that my body has time to digest and give me a wave when I’m full. In fact, the science suggests that sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty!

4. Pre-plan for leftovers

This last trick is one of my favourites. When plating up, fill up a container before you start eating to put in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. This makes it much less tempting to go back for seconds, and will help control your portion size and control your wallet tomorrow when it’s time for lunch.

If you're looking for some healthy meal ideas, check out this article: 5 easy vegan meals you can meal prep this weekend.

Dr Sandro Demaio

Dr Sandro Demaio smiling

Dr Sandro Demaio

Co-host of the ABC TV series ‘Ask the Doctor’, author of 30 scientific papers and ‘The Doctor’s Diet’ (a cookbook based on science), Dr Sandro Demaio is an Aussie medical doctor and global expert on non-communicable diseases.

For more articles by Dr Sandro Demaio, check out The Check Up’s dedicated section.