8 tips to reduce portions of food without increasing hunger

When you try to lose weight, you can start by eating less.

But how to reduce your portions without going hungry? Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to reduce calories while keeping hunger at bay.

This article contains 8 excellent tips to reduce the portions of food without you being hungry.

1. Make at least half of your plate vegetables

Vegetables have a lot of filling water and fiber, but not many calories (1).

By replacing half the starch or protein in your meal with non-starchy vegetables, you can eat the same volume of food and even reduce your overall calories (1).

And research has shown that the amount of food you eat is a factor in feeling full (2).

In one study, the participants were given the same amount of pasta, but with different amounts of vegetables.

Participants ate similar amounts of food regardless of the amount of vegetables they got, which means that those who had the highest proportion of vegetables ate fewer calories without even knowing it (3).

Try reducing the portions of other foods and fill the rest of your plate with non-starchy vegetables.

You can apply this same concept when making mixed dishes. Just add more vegetables to your favorite recipes so they are lower in calories and more nutritious.

Summary: Vegetables add volume to your food, allowing you to eat fewer calories for the same amount of food.

2. Eat protein with each meal or snack

Science has repeatedly shown that protein increases the feeling of fullness more than carbohydrates or fat (4).

A 2012 study analyzed the effects of eating high protein foods on feelings of fullness. Participants ate meals with 20 to 30% protein calories.

The researchers found that people who ate protein-rich foods felt fuller in the short and long term, compared to when their meals contained half that amount of protein (5).

Take advantage of the filling properties of proteins by including them in all meals and snacks.

Concentrate on lean sources of protein, such as eggs, skinless poultry, dairy products, seafood and fish. Proteins of plant origin are also good choices and may include beans, bean sauces, tofu and nut butters.

Here are some ideas for obtaining an increase of proteins in different foods and snacks:

  • Add some Greek yogurt to your breakfast shake.

  • Pair of whole grain crackers with lamb cheese or hummus.

  • Poach an egg in vegetable soup.

  • Add the beans or a hard-boiled egg to the salad.

Summary: Protein helps your body feel fuller than carbohydrates or fat. Include protein in each meal and snack to increase its power.

3. Drink water with your food

Drinking high-calorie beverages such as juice or soda does not make you feel full, but it leaves you with extra calories that you do not need (6, 7).

For older adults, drinking water just before a meal may help fill it and reduce the likelihood of overeating.

In one study in older adults, people who drank approximately 2 cups (500 ml) of water before breakfast ate approximately 13% less than participants who did not drink water before eating (8).

Drinking water before a meal does not seem to have the same effect on younger adults. However, replacing high-calorie beverages with water can save you a total of calories in your meal (9).

Drink water or other non-caloric beverages with your food to quench your thirst without increasing your caloric intake.

Summary: Drinking water with your meal saves you extra calories. Also, drinking a glass of water before a meal helps some people eat less.

4. Start with a soup or vegetable salad

It may seem counterintuitive to eat more dishes to eat less food, but starting your meal with a soup or salad can help you do just that.

In one study, participants had lunch in a laboratory once a week for five weeks. When they were given soup before entry, they ate 20% less calories in all their food than when they ate the entree (10).

That same researcher found similar results when she gave people salad before a pasta dish (11).

When people ate a small salad before their pasta, they ate 7% less calories during the meal than when they were thrown directly into the pasta. When they ate a large salad, they ate 12% less calories.

Soups and light vegetable salads have something in common: they have a high water content, are full of fiber-rich vegetables and are generally low in calories.

This combo of high fiber content and high water content seems to be an excellent way to reduce caloric intake later (12).

However, be careful with salad dressing, which can accumulate calories quickly.

Summary: Starting with a low-calorie soup or salad relieves your appetite and prepares you to eat less of the main course.

5. Use smaller plates and forks

It may sound strange, but the size of your plates and utensils to eat affects the amount you eat.

In one study, researchers found that people tend to fill their plates by approximately 70%, regardless of the size of the plate (13).

That translates to a lot more food if you're using a 10-inch dish compared to an 8-inch dish: 52% more food, in fact (13).

And when you have more on your plate, you are likely to eat more (14).

In other studies, people have been served more ice cream when they use a larger spoon and have eaten less when they use a small fork (15, 16).

So take advantage of the power of illusion and use a smaller plate and utensils. The same portion will look bigger and you are likely to eat less.

Summary: Using smaller plates can help keep portion sizes under control while tricking your brain into thinking you're eating more.

6. eat carefully

Between your smartphone, television and a hectic lifestyle, it can be very easy to eat and be distracted.

Distracted eating tends to lead to eating more, not only in that meal, but during the rest of the day (17).

Conscious feeding, the practice of paying full attention to what you eat without distractions, helps you notice the signs of hunger and fullness of your body, so you can know when you have had enough (18).

Mindfulness can also help you distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger (18).

When you're hungry, ask yourself if you're really hungry or if you just want to eat because you're bored or experience another emotion.

If you have the habit of eating emotionally, try other strategies before eating, such as going for a walk, exercising, drinking a cup of tea or making a diary.

And instead of performing multiple tasks at mealtime, try to reserve at least 20 minutes to tune your food, take the time to smell it, taste it and feel its effect on your body.

Summary: Limiting distractions and being present mentally while eating can help you better recognize when you are hungry or full.

7. Season your meals

Adding hot peppers to your food can help you eat less.

A compound in hot peppers called capsaicin can actually help reduce appetite and hunger (19).

In one study, participants who consumed hot red pepper as part of an appetizer ate 190 fewer calories during a subsequent lunch and snack than those who skipped the spice (20).

If you can not stand the heat, ginger can have a similar effect.

One study in 10 overweight men found that participants felt less hungry when they drank ginger tea during breakfast than when they skipped ginger tea (21).

Summary: Adding hot peppers or ginger to your food can help you feel fuller and eat less.

8. Eat more soluble fiber

In general, foods rich in fiber can help you feel full.

And foods with soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, pears and beans, are particularly abundant. That's because soluble fiber contains more water, giving it volume.

In the digestive tract, soluble fiber produces a thick gel that helps slow digestion, keeping hunger at bay (22, 23).

Recently, researchers found that adding flax rich in soluble fiber or chia seeds to foods increases the feeling of fullness (24).

As an additional note, these same researchers found that the use of chia seeds reduced the hunger hormone ghrelin at the end of the six-month period, compared to the initial levels (25).

Here are some easy ways to increase your consumption of soluble fiber:

  • Add chia or ground flaxseed to the smoothies, yogurt and cereals.

  • Cover breakfast bowls with whole-grain oatmeal, buckwheat or millet with apple or chopped pear.

  • Add beans to soups, salads and entrees.

  • Eat more squash. Both winter and summer squash are high in soluble fiber.

  • Fruit bites

Summary: Soluble fiber helps keep hunger at bay. Find it in oats, chia seeds, squash, beans, apples and pears.

The bottom line

Eating fewer calories does not have to mean being hungry.

In fact, there are many things you can do to keep hunger at bay.

Try increasing your portions with vegetables, eating more protein or tricking your mind using smaller plates.

These simple tips can help you control your food portions without feeling hungry.

Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-tips-to-reduce-portions


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