Tame the Spare Tire: Eat Foods You Love in Moderation

“Everything in moderation! Too much of a good thing, can be a bad thing.”

Most things in life benefit from a bit of balance, including our eating habits. The only problem is, not many of us know how to eat in moderation. What do we eat? How much of it do we need? How often should we be eating? These are questions that many people don’t know the answers to, so they end up eating much more than their body really needs.

When it comes to moderation, it’s recommended that one take these three approaches: calorie counting, portion control, and variation. But before we break it down, please keep in mind that eating in moderation should be paired with a well-balanced diet. Eating 2,000 calories worth of burgers and pizza per day won’t provide your body with the nutrients it needs.

With that being said, use this guide to successfully eat in moderation:

Tally Up the Calories

There are several factors that influence calorie intake, including age, weight, gender and activity level. It is recommended that women eat 2,000 calories per day to maintain their weight, while men, who are usually equipped with more muscle than females, eat 2,500 calories per day. People who exercise regularly and live active lifestyles need a higher caloric intake because they are frequently burning more calories than those living a more sedentary lifestyle.

Listen to Your Tummy

Many Americans tend to overeat without even knowing it. We’re used to super-sizing, and large restaurant plates piled high with food. We focus on how full our plates are, rather than how full our stomachs feel, and polish off three times the amount of food we actually need to eat.

Packaged foods contain serving size labels to guide us in controlling the portions we eat. You may think eight chips is a ridiculous serving size, but if you pair that snack with an apple or Greek yogurt, your stomach will be satisfied.

Embrace Food Diversity

If the food on your plate is all the same color, chances are you’re not getting all the nutrients you need. There’s no one food group that contains all the nutrients our bodies crave, so it’s up to us to mix it up. We need our daily intake of protein, grains, dairy, and what many of us forget about—fruits and vegetables.  Including foods from all of these groups in your everyday meals will add variety to your plate, and make it harder to pile on the spaghetti.

How to Eat in Moderation

Because we ‘re here to help you to stay on track, here are 3 more tips:

Eat on smaller plates: Bigger dishes give the impression that you don’t have enough food on your plate. Transfer the same portion to a smaller plate for the opposite effect.

Keep the food in the kitchen: Family style dining sets us up to overeat. Dish out your food and leave the rest in the kitchen. We tend to continue picking at food that sits in front of us, even when we know we’re full.

Brush your teeth: This one has multiple benefits. Peppermint sends signals to the brain that we’re full, which helps us to put that second drumstick down. Also, once you’ve brushed your teeth after dinner or dessert, you’re more likely to avoid the kitchen so you don’t have to re-brush before bed.

Continue on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Include this herb in your daily diet and reap its life-changing benefits.