Why do Americans eat so much? It's easy to blame super-size options and junk food commercials. But truth is, problems with portion control are often the real culprit. Keep clicking to get the skinny on 8 portion control pitfalls that even careful people make - and what to do instead...
Pitfall #1: Scarfing whole entrees when eating out
To please their hungry (and value-conscious) customers, many restaurants go overboard on portion sizes. So just because an entree is sold as something for one person, always consider the possibility that you would be better off splitting it with a friend - or asking for doggy bag.
Pitfall #2: Using serving platters
Serving dishes are dangerous because they encourage you to help yourself to as much as you want - even if it's more than you should eat. Prevent the temptation of second and third helpings by serving food on individual plates.
Pitfall #3: Being fooled by nutrition labels
Food packages come in all shapes and sizes - and hold all number of servings. It's easy to be fooled into thinking that the nutrition information on the label is about the whole package - and not just one of many servings. Be sure to read the label carefully to see just how many servings are included.
Pitfall #4: Waiting till the next meal when you're hungry
When you're hungry, you're more likely to overeat if you wait till the next meal. Instead, tide yourself over with a healthy snack - like a piece of fruit or a small salad. As the CDC jokes, "Go head, spoil your dinner."
Pitfall #5: Keeping tempting food within easy reach
When cookies, chips, ice cream or other treats are within easy reach, it's hard to grab something a bit healthier. Instead, store especially tempting foods on a high shelf or at the back of the freezer. Move healthful fare to the front at eye level.
The same rule goes for excess groceries - if you buy in bulk, store what you don't need in a place that's not so easy to get to - such as a high cabinet or at the back of the pantry.
Pitfall #6: Snacking straight from the package
Snacking straight from the package encourages mindless eating. This is especially dangerous if you're watching TV or doing some other activity that keeps you from focusing on what's going into your mouth. Instead of eating from packages, put the amount you plan to eat in a bowl or container. Once you're done, that's it. No going back for more.
Credit: Flickr/Martin Cathrae
Pitfall #7: Keeping candy dishes around the house
What harm will a little candy dish do? Plenty - by encouraging you to consume needless calories. If you want something sweet around, replace the candy dish with a fruit bowl.