Contributed by Jason Knapfel, the Senior Producer for DietsInReview.com, which provides the tools and information needed to shape a healthier you.
Portion control is one of the easiest steps towards losing weight. Even if you aren't on a diet at the moment, if you learn how to control the portion of foods you are eating, you can cut major calories from your bottom line.
Way too often, we eat a meal without measuring the foods, which may give us the false belief that we are eating sensibly, but in actuality we may be eating double or even triple the healthy serving size.
First you need to know what portions are appropriate, and they vary depending on the kind of food you are talking about.
There are some very easy visualization tools that you can use to keep in mind what portions are healthiest.
Fruits and vegetables
In the case of fruits and vegetables, very few of us are in danger of eating too much. But, a baseball or the size of your fist is the appropriate serving size.
The baked potato on your plate should be about the size of your computer mouse. If not, cut it in half and save the rest for another meal.
Meat, fish or poultry
This is one of the better known comparisons: your animal protein source should be about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand.
Need to partake in a little decadence after your meal? A tennis ball measures to about half-cup of food, which is about right for favorite flavor of ice cream.
Dried fruit or nuts
Since these are calorie-dense foods, they need to be portioned accordingly. A golf ball is about a quarter-cup, and the right size for nuts or dried fruit.
1. Take a look at your plate of food
About half of your plate should be made up of vegetables, one-quarter should be your protein source, and the last 25 percent should be your starch.
2. Read food labels
They can be deceiving. The serving size that matches the nutritional information on the label may be smaller than you think. You see this a lot with sugary drinks, where the bottle is actually two or more servings.