Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet plays a key role in the health of your body. Although food choices are essential for good health, you also need to eat proper portion sizes. Recognizing ways to manage portion sizes can help you reach and maintain your goals for a healthy weight. Why Eat Proper Portions? Eating a proper portion size is essential for good health because it prevents over-eating throughout the day. It cuts back on the number of calories that you consume and it helps you stay on track for weight loss goals. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, or the USDA, foods that you eat and beverages you drink play a key role in your balance of energy throughout the day. Proper portions help you keep your energy levels up throughout the day and prevent a sudden loss of energy. Measure Your Foods A simple way to stay on track and keep track of your diet is through measurements. When you cook at home and plan a meal for the entire family, use measuring cups to separate meals onto plates or into bowls. The measuring cups ensure that you follow any portion recommendations for pasta, rice, cereal or even fruits and vegetables. In the case of most meats and fish, opt for small portions. For example, select a piece of meat that is around the size of a deck of cards or weigh the meat and keep portion sizes within 3 to 4 ounces per person in the household. Eat Regular Meals Skipping meals might seem to help you lose weight and reduce your caloric intake, but it actually harms your ability to eat a healthy portion size at meals. By skipping breakfast or lunch, you feel hungry and end up eating a larger meal than you planned later in the day. Eat regular meals and enjoy snacks when you feel hungry. Opt for healthy food choices and follow portion guidelines for any specific item so that you do not feel excessively hungry throughout the day. Divide Your Foods Large portions are a key problem when you purchase packaged food items, beverages or eat at a restaurant. The larger portion sizes make it challenging to stay within a healthy weight range because you can accidentally over-eat. A simple solution to prevent over-eating is through division. At a restaurant, share your meal with a friend or family member. Alternatively, ask for a second plate and put half of your meal onto the second plate before you start eating. For food items that come in a large package, such as pretzels or air-popped popcorn, read the portion guidelines on the back and divide the food into separate bags or containers. When eating in front of your television, take a single portion size of the snack food or your meal to prevent over-eating. Portion Control for Better Nutrition Your body requires regular meals and snacks to maintain a healthy balance of energy throughout the day. Whether you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, eating proper portion sizes helps you accomplish your goals.