All-you-can-eat buffets, super-sized meals, and bottomless starters are popping up everywhere. Plates are getting bigger, pots are getting deeper, and cups are getting taller. With this surplus of food everywhere you go, do you know how much you should actually be eating?

Read food labels.
At a quick glance your favorite treat is only 200 calories and 12 grams of sugar. You eat the bag and walk away thinking you only ate an extra 200 calories. What you didn’t notice was that small bag of sweets actually contained two or possibly even three servings, doubling and tripling your calorie intake. Labels get sneaky so be aware that sometimes 1 serving is half your coke or half a muffin and your calories are double what you actually thought.

Be aware of recommended serving sizes.
Hand symbols are a quick way to see a visual of how much you should actually be eating.
The serving size for most meats is 3 oz., an easy way to visualize this is a deck of cards. A serving of rice, noodles, or oatmeal is ½ cup, or about 1 handful. A salad serving size is 2 cups, this may be visualized with two fists. Get familiar with how much is recommended of your favorite foods so when the time comes you’ll know when to stop.

Share a meal.
One of the easiest ways to avoid overeating? Share your meal with someone else. When eating out you can quickly stack up over half the days calories in one meal. By sharing with another person you prevent yourself from mindlessly eating the food in front of you.

Only eat half.
If you don’t have someone to share with take some home for leftovers. Request a box when you order if necessary to get that excess food off your plate and out of sight. You can enjoy it later.

Drink more water, eat slowly.
I recommend drinking 16 oz. of water before sitting down to eat a meal. A lot of times when we think we are hungry our body is actually signalling thirst. By first pacifying this need you will be less likely to overeat. Then, slow down while eating your meal, by doing this you allow your brain enough time to recognize you are getting full before it’s too late.

Pre-portion your snacks.
This takes us right back where we started, with reading the label. Even your simplest treats may contain more servings than you think. Snack foods have the biggest temptation of mindless eating while watching TV or making dinner so split up serving sizes into individual bags immediately after opening a product to prevent this from happening.

iFit Trainer
Emily Wiley

WARNING: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFit assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.