The first step to avoid overeating away from home is to choose the smallest plate size available. This will guide you to take smaller portions, while making you think the portions are bigger. (Actually, this trick works when you're at home, too.)
The second step is to look at the plate as though it had a clock face on it. From the noon to 6 p.m. position, fill the plate with fruit and vegetable dishes, especially salads and other options featuring raw produce. Most of us don’t meet the goal of eating five fruits and vegetables every day, but give it a try by loading your plate with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Go easy on cream-based vegetable dishes, though, since they contain more calories and fat.
|Load your plate with color.|
For the next couple of "hours" on your plate, 8 to 10 p.m., you have two choices. You can either choose lean protein meat, such as turkey or chicken, to fill the entire two hours, or non-meat protein options such as beans, legumes, or nuts.
The 10 p.m. to midnight slot is reserved for one sweet food. Don’t fall into the trap of overloading your plate with sweets as if you’ll never see any again. Don’t worry — you’ll be presented with plenty of opportunities to eat sweets in the future!
Eating "around the clock” like this helps you stay focused on healthy food choices. Start at noon with plenty of fruits and veggies and/or vegetable dishes, and by the time you approach the midnight hour, you’ll be able to stick to just one sweet treat.
To learn more about portion control, visit the Healthy & Fit on the Go website, and choose the Portion Power handout.
Written by Connie Burns, registered dietitian/nutritionist and adapted by Mary Schroeder, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition.