Having trouble controlling your serving size? Here are 10 (very) doable tips!

It's one thing to say, "I'll only have two slices of pizza" and another to act on it (and not eat the whole thing). Portion control is extremely difficult, let's face it, and those large restaurant and takeaway servings don't help either. But eating the right amount of food is incredibly important for good health and maintaining or losing weight. And it applies to healthy food, too.

Portion control is actually the cornerstone of good nutrition, other than making sure that you're making healthy food choices. Portion control is not just important from a weight loss or management perspective, but also in respect to one's relationship with food. If we are unable to stop eating once satisfied, we can be left feeling guilty and uncomfortable. Such guilt and discomfort can make us see food in a negative light and cause us to restrict food. This restriction then creates feelings of deprivation and leads to more overeating, perpetuating a poor relationship with food and feelings of loss of control.

Start with a glass of H2O

Drink 16 ounces (a big glass) of water before you eat. Filling your belly with water will naturally make you less likely to overeat. Plus, some symptoms of dehydration may actually be what's causing your rumbling belly, so sipping some water before you eat may eliminate your hunger altogether.

Add veggie fillers

Bulking up your meals with veggies is one easy way to cut calories while filling you up fast. So, if you're going to be overeating anything, eating veggies is the best option.

Dine on dinnerware that helps you lose

The colour of your plate may influence how much you eat, according to a 2012 Cornell University study. The researchers discovered that when a plate and the food on it had a low colour-contrast (like pasta with Alfredo sauce on a white plate), people at a buffet served themselves 22 per cent more than when there was a higher colour-contrast (like pasta with red sauce on a white plate or pasta with Alfredo sauce on a red plate). The study conclusions suggest that if you want to eat less, select plates that have a colour-contrast to the food you're eating for dinner.

Set the scene for slower eating

Dim lights and listen to relaxing music to set the tone for a more leisurely meal. Taking your time while eating increases enjoyment and decreases portion. Remember to chew slowly, put down your fork between bites, and sip water to make your meal last longer.

Work for your food

Here's another way to slow down your eating: munch on foods that require shelling, peeling, or individual unwrapping. Oranges, edamame, and pistachios in their shells are healthy options.

Don't eat from the bag or box

When you sit down with a bag of chips, do you really know how many you're eating? Researchers from Cornell University sought to answer this question in a study and found that people ate 50 per cent more chips when they were given no visual cues as to how large a portion should be. So if you buy a bag of chips or a tin of nuts that contains 10 servings, divide the contents of the container into 10 smaller baggies ahead of time.

Slurp your appetiser

Before you dive into your entrée, have some soup. Though it may seem counterintuitive to add more to your meal, research shows that starting a meal with soup may help you reduce your overall calorie intake.

Limit mealtime distractions

Turn off the TV and put your smartphone away while you eat. A recent review of studies found that people who watched television during meals tended to consume more than those who ate without any distractions.

Use your palm (or plate)

To get a feel for how much carbs, protein, fats and veggies to have in a meal, use the plate or palm rule. Divide the plate into half a plate of low starch vegetables, a quarter plate of protein, a quarter plate of complex carbs with half a tablespoon of fat. Alternatively, or to use in conjunction with the plate rule, use your palm to 'measure' out appropriate portions. Remember to keep protein the size of the palm of your hand, the tip of the finger as serve size of butter, a quarter of an avocado per serve and no more than the size of a match box for cheese.

Use smaller serveware and dishes

Evidence suggests that sizes of plates, spoons and glasses can unconsciously influence how much food someone eats. For example, using large plates can make food appear smaller — often leading to overeating. So, dish up your own food with a small utensil onto a small bowl or plate, and chances are you'll eat less.