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Lose weight, save money, live well! Check out these practical tips for reducing your portion size and your debt! By Andrew Cate.

Portion size is one of the most underestimated factors in our rising obesity
epidemic. Sometimes it’s not just what food you’re eating, but how much of
it you have. Take on board the following tips for eating at home and also while you’re out, to help reduce your portion sizes.

• Be wary of your portion sizes of high-kilojoule foods, such
as biscuits, cakes, pastries, desserts, fats, oils, spreads and high-GI
carbohydrates.

• Don’t eat in front of the television as the distraction can cause you
to overeat.

• Use a smaller plate when serving yourself food, and smaller glasses
when serving yourself kilojoule-laden drinks.

• Store leftovers in individual portions rather than in bulk containers.
• Adjust your serving sizes according to your activity levels. In other
words, eat a little less on the days you don’t exercise.

• Use a food diary to get a more comprehensive picture of the quantity
of food you are eating.

While it might seem tedious to weigh your food, even doing it just
once can make you more aware of what a normal serving size is. This
may be a worthwhile exercise if you are struggling with portion sizes.
• Don’t reduce your portion sizes of water-rich vegetables.

• Eat slowly and savour your food. It takes 10 to 20 minutes for your
brain to get signals from your stomach that you are full. By eating
slowly, you will eat less.

• Wait a few minutes before getting a second helping. Your fullness from
your first helping will be more likely to register, and the craving may pass.

• Sometimes hunger is actually a signal from your body that you are
partially dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help take the edge
off hunger and cravings by keeping your stomach full between meals.

• Eat plenty of fibre and lean protein. These two nutrients have the best
potential to make you feel full for the least amount of kilojoules.

• Eat more natural foods. Unprocessed foods such as beans, peas, lentils,
fruit and vegetables are absorbed slowly, making you feel fuller for
longer. When it takes longer for your hunger to return, cravings are
reduced, and you tend to eat smaller portions.

• Eat less, more often. Overeating and consuming large meals can stretch
your stomach wall, meaning you need to eat more to feel full. Have
smaller meals more often to help minimise the capacity of your stomach.

• If you’re eating out at a restaurant, share an entree or dessert instead of
having it all to yourself.

• Don’t feel obliged to eat everything that’s put in front of you. Don’t
let others determine your portion size. If you’re at a restaurant and
you’ve had enough, ask for a doggie bag.

How can it save you money?
If you cut down your portion sizes and total food consumption by approximately
5 per cent, then you can cut your food bills by 5 per cent. Remember,the average person spends $174 a week on food and drink. If that figure doesn’t
match your weekly spend, there’s room to make your own calculations.

Taken from “The Tight Arse Diet: Lose Weight, Save Money, Live Well” by Andrew Cate ($19.99, ABC Books).

Get more great health advice here!