What does your body tell you when you need to rest after a meal? You probably ate more than your body needs and that made you a little tired or a bit too full. But how much is the right amount of food per one meal?
Of course, to control your weight, it is not all about the amount of food you eat but the type of food as well. So, it would be best if you took care of both these factors – by eating the right foods in right amounts.
Find a balance between how much you eat and how much you need to eat.
We cannot tell you exactly how much you should eat; it depends on several factors. First, you need a balance between how much calories you take in and how much you burn. If you are more active, your body obviously asks for more food/energy, while if you are inactive or mildly active you need less. So, if you like eating a lot – better start doing some physical activity. The FDA offers some guidelines you can use to determine how much you should eat depending on your age, sex, weight and how active you are.
Once you calculate how many calories you need in a day, and how much fat, carbohydrates, proteins and other nutrients you should be getting, you can start paying attention to food labels and determine how much of which food is the right amount for you. The recommended serving size written on food labels can be more or less than you actually need, so put in a little effort and figure it out for yourself. At first, it might take you some time to do the math, but when you get used to it, it will be very easy and you will feel and look so much better.
Calculate how many calories you need per day, and plan your meals accordingly.
Eating less or more than you actually need is not good for your health, so knowing how much is enough is very important. For example, according to all the parameters, one woman needs a daily intake of 1600 calories. So if she wants to have 5 meals in one day, she should probably make sure that every meal contains around 320 calories (if she wants each meal to be of equal caloric value). Of course, we are not saying that this is the number of calories you should eat – you calculate that for yourself and combine accordingly.
Keep a food journal.
We know that it can be hard to control food intake and track the amounts and calories. That is why keeping a food journal could be useful – you could have all the data in one place and always know how well you are doing. This might be boring at first, but soon enough you will realize how useful it can be. Keeping a diary has become easy lately and now you have the option to keep it in your cell phone and always have all the information with you. It is a good choice because it gives you the opportunity to write down the kind of food you are eating, and the amount. You can also write (approximately or exactly) how many calories a particular meal contains. At the end of the day you can reflect and see how you did and decide what you would like to change the next day to be even more successful.
Make a meal plan.
Besides a food journal, another aid in obtaining your healthy eating goals is making a meal plan. This means writing down what, and when you are going to eat, in what amounts and how many calories that meal has. You should make a realistic plan, because the aim is not keeping a crash diet and returning to bad habits later, but making small changes in your lifestyle that will lead to your better health and consequently – better looks. You should plan to have at least 3 meals per day (5-6 would be best), and you should make it in such a way that in each meal you have enough calories for that time of day. For example, for breakfast you should eat a combination of healthy carbohydrates with enough proteins to provide you enough energy to rise and shine, and to feel energized. You can combine as you like and as you feel appropriate, but keep in mind that you also need to be careful about when you eat. Eating just before bed is not a really good choice. At the end of the day, you can compare your meal plan with your journal, see how well you did, and if you made mistakes or couldn’t handle all the changes at once, don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.
Don’t eat in front of the TV, chew slowly and watch out for prepackaged foods which contain several servings.
Besides the mentioned, there are several other tips to control your portions and make sure you are eating enough, but not too much. For instance, if you are eating prepackaged food which contains two servings, don’t eat from the bag because you will probably eat too much. Instead, put one serving into a plate before eating, and put the bag with leftovers away for some other time. Another thing that sometimes gets us eating more than we should is when we get carried away watching TV, and forget about the food we are eating, don’t chew as much and usually don’t even enjoy the taste of food. So, you should not eat in front of a TV, or while reading something, because then you are not paying attention to your food. Finally, try to eat as slowly as possible, because your stomach needs about 20 minutes to send a signal to the brain that it’s full, so you might actually be full long before you notice it. By eating slowly, you are giving yourself the chance to stop eating when you feel satisfied and full.
These changes will not be easy at the beginning, but they are worth making as they will make your life so much better health-wise. A healthy, well-balanced diet and portion control can do much for you, if you give it a chance.