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My Shortcut to Eating Balanced Meals: Controlling Portion Size

I know people who actually weigh their food before they eat it and go on diets like only-orange and strictly keto in order to lose weight. It may be possible to lose weight using only these means, but I assure you most gain all that weight back and more. What I’ve actually learned, after trying out so many diets and fads, is that the best method of staying in shape and losing weight when I need it is controlling my portion size.

Ever since college, I’ve had to be conscious of what I put into my body to fuel it. I have an enormous sweet tooth and I crave potato chips constantly! I guess it’s confessional time for me. I’ve learned one thing about myself since then: If I restrict food for too long, there will be a day of reckoning and I won’t be able to keep it up. I’ll “fall off the wagon,” get discouraged, and start the entire process over again.

Fat gets a bad wrap. We all need it, and if you eat with this proportion in mind on a  regular basis, your fat intake will not be excessive. Throughout the day, you’ll need to eat a few snacks of low calorie, high fiber fruits. This will curb your appetite and keep your immune system in check.

Table setting for herb salad with edible flowers fruits nuts and simple vinaigrette

Portion Size

I’ve studied just about every nutrition book, diet book, and health book I could get my hands on. The gist of my simple rule is to fill my plate with 50% clear vegetables, 30% protein, and 20% starch. I base the proportion off of a 4–6 ounce protein. My grandfather used to tell me to use the size of the palm of my hand to judge the right amount of protein in your meal.

50% Clear Vegetable

When I say clear vegetables, I mean non-starchy vegetables such as squash, green beans, tomatoes, and even a fully-loaded salad. I try not to be too strict with my salad because I’ll just count the toppings such as cheese, bacon, carrots, and beets as a protein or more clear vegetables. Really, in my opinion, you can eat as many clear vegetables as you want without feeling guilty.

20% Starchy Vegetables, Bread, and Pasta

Ahh, potatoes. What a beloved root vegetable. I do adore the potato. Often I will defer to the sweet potato. In this category, besides breads and pastas, brown rice, black-eyed peas, crowder peas, and butter beans will fill out the rest of my plate.


On weeks where I may need to shed a few pounds from a birthday weekend (I love birthday cake and ice cream), I’ll make non-starchy versions of the starchy vegetables. I may make zoodles instead of spaghetti, or turnip fries instead of potato fries. Once my weight is back in check, I’ll revert back to my normal 50:30:20 ratio!

By the way, I have a ton of recipes in my Harvest Cookbook that fit into this healthy-eating ratio! Pick up a copy of Harvest from Amazon today—it makes a great gift for Christmas, first-time home owners, or dieters!

Here’s a few meal ideas for you!

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