How to Eat Smaller Portions And Still Feel Full

by Ahmed Zayed, MD on June 19, 2019
Last updated on May 23, 2021

One of the best weight loss tips that you can use is to eat smaller portions of food throughout the day. But if you are here, then you are most probably worried that you will end up feeling hungry afterward. Does eating smaller portions equal feeling hungry? And what can you do to change that? Use the tips that we have to give you to achieve the best weight loss results possible while using smaller plates to serve your food on.

green beans and vegetable salad on brown bowl

How eating small portions can help you lose weight?

Did you know that it is recommended to have to eat five meals throughout the day? Of these, three are supposed to be your main meals, and there should ultimately be two to three snacks in between. You may wonder how eating so much food is going to help you lose weight. Well, with the right planning it will.
All that you have to do is plan your meals so that they contain natural, healthy, nutritious ingredients only, and use small plates to serve your meals on. If you just choose the right ingredients, you will be able to prepare a fulfilling meal or a snack that despite the fact that it is served on a smaller plate or in a smaller bowl, it will satisfy your hunger. In addition, by using a smaller plate, you will keep away from overeating as well as intake any unnecessary calories in the process.

Tips for eating smaller portions and still feel full

Fill at least half of your plate with vegetables

Instead of filling the whole plate with proteins or starches, how about filling at least half of it with delicious, fresh vegetables? The reason to do that, apart from the great taste, numerous vitamins, and minerals, vegetables are filled with filling water and fiber that will help you to stay full for a long period of time.

In addition, you can eat the same or even bigger volume of food, by eating on veggies, and still be able to stick to your recommended calorie deficit since most vegetables contain low amounts of calories. In a study published back in 1998, two groups of participants had been given pasta, however, with different amounts of vegetables. The results revealed that the participants that consumed the most vegetables along with their pasta also consumed the least calories of all participants (1). Choose legumes, asparagus, beets, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, cucumber, etc. to help you satisfy your hunger (2).

Include protein in every meal and snack

Protein is your one and true friend during your weight loss journey. Science has spoken, and we are here to listen – apparently, protein is the most fulfilling nutrient of them all, and we need to use it for our advantage (3).

If you want to cut your portions without having to deal with the annoying feeling of hunger, then you should definitely go grocery shopping to pick all of your favorite protein sources. Ultimately, what you should do is include protein in every meal and snack to assure that you are feeling full and satisfied, which will help you to intake fewer calories throughout the day. Some delicious protein-rich sources are tofu, eggs, milk and dairy products, seafood, fish, chicken, beef, beans, and much more. There are so many natural protein sources that you can use so that your meal planning would go smoothly. And of course, you can always use a protein shake as a substitute for your snack between meals.

Eat soup or a salad before your main meal

It might not seem logical to you having to eat so many meals and different foods throughout the day and still succeed at your goal to lose weight. Well, with careful meal planning, choosing the right foods, and nutrients, everything is possible.

What we would recommend is to include a small bowl of homemade, vegetable soup or a small plate of salad before you proceed to eat your main meal. This is a trick that you can practice before your lunch and dinner for the best results. You might not be aware of the effect, but what is going to happen, are you eating less and with that, introducing fewer calories throughout the main meal. And the effect has been confirmed by science. Science had shown that when soup or salad had been given to the participants for them to eat it before their lunch, they successfully had eaten 20% fewer calories with their lunch! (4, 5)

Drink water before and during your meals

Anyone who is considering losing a couple of pounds should definitely keep their water bottle next to them at all times. Drinking water has multiple health benefits as one of the best things that we can do for our bodies is to drink a tall glass of fresh water as often as we can.

Drinking water has its positive effects on the weight loss process as well, being able to speed it up by helping us reduce our calorie intake. Drinking 500 ml of fresh water before your meal has been proven as an effective weight loss method since water will efficiently help us reduce the number of calories (6). In addition, it is highly recommended for all of us to make water our priority drink. By replacing all of those carbonated, sugary drinks, with the fresh and simple water, we are able to cut extra sugars, fats, and everything that is potentially hidden away in that bottled or canned beverage.

Eat high-fiber fruit before your meals

Just imagine all of the different, fresh fruits that wait for you in the grocery shop. Yes, a lot of us have the habit of passing on fruits and end up eating a whole bag of chips. It is not that hard to figure it out why we end up unsatisfied with our body image and health.

But now is not the time to pass on fruit. The time to eat as much as fresh, high in fiber fruit has come. If you are not a fan of eating salads, then at least what you can do is eat some high-fiber fruit before your meal to ensure that you are feeling full and avoid any overeating (7). Apples, bananas, oranges, berries, mangos, and guava are all a great high-fiber fruit that you should not miss out on. Eat these delicious fruits to make sure that you stay as far away as possible from any excessive calorie intake throughout lunch or dinner.

Practice mindful eating

How often do you spend your nights eating dinner and binge-watching your favorite TV shows and movies? We would guess that the answer to that question is quite often. There are a lot of things that are wrong with binge eating and binge-watching TV, and weight gain is one of them.

How about for a change, you turn off your TV, computer, and mobile phone and eat your meal in some peace and quiet? We understand that is not always possible, as many of us eat our lunch at the lunch room along with our colleagues, but at least when we are at home in time for dinner, we do not really have any excuse, do we? It is about time we start practicing mindful eating and actually listen to our body for a change so that we can read the signs of it telling us that we are full and satisfied (8).

Commit to cooking

How much time do you spend in your kitchen? And we do not mean spending time, going through the fridge, and figuring out how to make a fast snack. What we mean is spending actual time for you to cook preferably three meals a day and two to three snacks in between.

Eating homemade meals and snacks will help you to better control your calorie intake, but it will also able you to decide on the quality of food that you intake, how fresh and healthy are the ingredients that you have been using really, and of course – extend your creativity when it comes to cooking healthy recipes for you and your family. Treat yourself to some nice containers and some utensils that you can carry your homemade meal in and eat it at work or wherever you are.

Cut food in small pieces

Here is an idea – instead of chunking on a whole piece of meat or whatever it is, how about trying to cut it small pieces? The idea is not to burn extra energy fighting with your knife and fork, slicing your food into small pieces, it is simply an effective weight loss method that the researchers at the Arizona State University found as quite useful.

In their research, the participants who have spent time slicing their breakfast food into smaller pieces have been found to intake 25% fewer calories during their lunch (9). Now those are some satisfying numbers, are they not? By cutting your food into smaller pieces, you are visualizing more food, plus it takes extra time actually to eat all of that food. So why not try this effective, yet inexpensive weight loss method?

Start your day with a small, yet fulfilling breakfast

One of the rules for a healthy body and an effective weight loss process is never to skip breakfast. Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. We just need to know how to cook the best breakfast possible.

By choosing the right ingredients, you will be able to cook yourself a healthy, fulfilling, and yet a small breakfast that will satisfy your hunger, boost your energy levels, and help your digestive system to wake up. We would recommend eating some fiber-rich oats, protein-rich eggs, avocado toast, a healthy smoothie, Greek yogurt, etc. for the best effects possible.

Use a plate for food that comes from a bag or a box

Even some of the healthiest foods come in a bag or a box. However, that does not certainly mean that you are free to eat the whole bag or box without any consequences regarding your weight loss experience.

The next time that you reach to get a box or a bag of your favorite healthy food, remind yourself to use a small plate or a bowl instead. Eating one handful of a snack would be enough, and a small bowl or a plate would offer plenty of space for that. Your small bowl or plate of food might not last you for the whole episode of your favorite TV show, but it will certainly help you lose those extra body pounds as you have been hoping.


Drinking two glasses of water before your meal, filling up your plate with fresh veggies, eating soup or a small salad are all great tips on how to avoid feeling hungry and still manage to lose weight after all. Use these useful tips that we had to offer you today and lose that unwanted body weight while you enjoy in your fresh, homemade meals in a reasonably portioned plate!


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