6 Portion Control Tips for Diabetes

An overloaded plate can spell trouble when it comes to your waistline and type 2 diabetes. Learn more about the importance of controlling food portions.

By Diana Rodriguez,

When it comes to food portions, size matters — especially if you have type 2 diabetes. Portion control is essential to manage both blood sugar and weight, says Vandana Sheth, RD, CDE, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Controlling portion sizes can be simple and practical, Sheth says, and it can help you control your intake of calories and carbohydrates. This can help you manage your blood sugar and maintain a healthy weight, which can potentially reduce your need for type 2 diabetes medications.

[post_ads]Weight loss plans, oral medications, and short-acting insulin for people with type 2 diabetes are generally calculated based on an expected calorie and carbohydrate count for each meal, says Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, a national media spokesperson for the AND. So practicing proper portion control is also essential for managing type 2 diabetes effectively.

Planning Out Food Portions
Use these practical portion guidelines for common foods to help you stay in the right range:
  • A serving of meat should be about 3 ounces, roughly the size of a deck of playing cards.
  • Cheese should be in 1-ounce servings, roughly the size of about six dice
  • A serving of cooked whole grain pasta or brown rice should be about 1/2 cup, roughly the size of a tennis ball
  • A serving of whole fruit is about the size of a tennis ball
  • A serving of raw leafy greens is about 1 cup, which would fit into both hands cupped together; a serving of cooked greens is 1/2 cup, which would fit into one cupped hand
Mastering Portion Control 
Using portion-control plates or pre-portioned foods and filling up on low-energy-dense foods — those high in nutrients and low in calories — can all help manage portions and promote weight loss, according to a review of research published in July 2014 in the International Journal of Obesity. These six tips can also help:
  1. Divide your plate. Consider using a plate that's divided into appropriate portion sizes. People with diabetes who used portion-control plates lost more weight than those who tried to eyeball their measurements, according to the International Journal of Obesity review. A healthy rule of thumb is to fill half of your plate with non-starchy veggies, one of the remaining quarter sections with grains, and the other with lean protein.
  2. Measure your food. To learn what the right portion sizes look like, use measuring cups and invest in a small food scale. “Measure out proper portion sizes and see what they look like on your plate,” Zanini says. For example, fill a one-cup measure with your favorite whole grain breakfast cereal, put it in your usual bowl, and note how far up the sides it comes. Always portion out bagged or boxed snacks — don’t eat right out of the package since you can’t measure how much you’re having.
  3. Use smaller plates and glasses. To avoid supersizing your helpings, swap your large dinner plate for a salad plate. Opt for glasses that you know hold either 4 or 8 ounces so you can keep track of how much you’re drinking.
  4. Pace yourself. To avoid taking second (or third) helpings, keep serving dishes in the kitchen, not on the table. When you’ve finished your meal, wait a few minutes before getting up for more to make sure you’re actually still hungry.
  5. Don’t dine when distracted. People who eat while multitasking tend to eat more and find their food to be less flavorful, according to a study published in July 2013 in the journal Psychological Science. “Practice mindful eating,” Zanini says. Skip the TV, laptop, tablet, and smartphone screens and focus on food, family, friends, and conversation instead. “When we eat free of distractions related to phones, computers, and TVs, we can pay more attention to our serving sizes and the point in the meal in which we’re satisfied rather than simply feeling like we have to finish all the food in front of us,” she says.
  6. Don’t let dining out derail you. Use simple tricks to keep from gobbling up oversized restaurant portions. Order an appetizer instead of an entrée for your main course or split an entrée with a friend. Go easy on the alcohol, which can promote overeating. Limit the rolls, bread, chips, and other freebies at the table — start with a broth-based soup instead. And eat sensibly throughout the day so you’re not starving by dinnertime, Sheth says.



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Health Magazine: 6 Portion Control Tips for Diabetes
6 Portion Control Tips for Diabetes
An overloaded plate can spell trouble when it comes to your waistline and type 2 diabetes. Learn more about the importance of controlling food portions.
Health Magazine
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