The secret to maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Portion control is the key to maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.

We probably feel bombarded with nutritional messages about what is good and not good for us. One day we hear or read on the news that something is healthy and the following week that same thing is considered to be unhealthy. We feel overwhelmed and confused about our diets and what we eat. But, what do we really want? We are looking for that perfect diet that can keep us healthy and fit. We want magic and we want it quick! However, there are no magic tricks in dealing with a healthy lifestyle, there is only discipline, self-control and nutritional education. There is no magic, but there is one secret. That secret is called portion control. Portion control is the key to maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Portion control does not mean eating very small portions and feeling hungry all the time. It means eating smart while eating fewer calories and still feeling satisfied. There are some small steps we can take to accomplish this. Here are 5 easy ways to cut portions and trim calories in your daily routine:

  1. Use a smaller serve ware and dish for your snacks and meals. For example, use small bowls for your snack instead of just grabbing from the bag or container. In this way, we have control of the amount of calories and food we are eating.
  2. In between meals, do not forget to have healthy and low-calorie snacks such as grilled fruits, pineapple, banana, or apple slices. Also, popcorn with little or no added salt or butter or rye crackers. You are going to feel satisfied for a longer period of time with whole grains. Carrots and celery sticks with low-fat dressing are also great snacks.
  3. Drink water right before you eat your meal. No oversized meals are a must! Ask for a small portion or the kid’s portion size meal. Share your meal or dessert with someone else. Sharing is always a good idea!!
  4. Add vegetables to your meals. Bulking up your meals with veggies is one easy way to cut calories. Spinach and tomatoes, for example, can be used as a sandwich-topper or in a pasta.
  5. Take your time to eat your meals! Do not rush! If you have too many distractions while you are eating you are not going to feel satisfied at the end of the meal and we definitely do not want this to happen.

Following the above tips are healthy and easy ways towards a balanced diet. If you would like to learn more about heathy lifestyles, visit USDA’s My Plate page. Michigan State University Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families, and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating. For more health and nutrition tips, visit Michigan State University Extension.


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