I have written a lot about the types of foods to include for improving health and well being, but if you are watching your weight, how much you eat can be just as important as what you eat. Even if you have eat the healthiest foods ever, over do portion sizes, and you may see this in an inability to lose weight, and even weight gain. Below is a diagram of ideal proportions, but this could be a tiny or a massive plate!
So what does a portion actually look like?
Fish or meat: size of the palm of your hand, or about 5-6 meatballs
pasta, rice, potato: a clenched fist
bread: one slice
cheese: a small matchbox
vegetables: about a cup
nuts: a small handful, or about 8 almonds
Some foods come ready prepared in their portion size eg. 2 eggs, a banana, an apple, or 2 satsumas
6 tips for portion control:
- Don’t cook more than you need of carbohydrate and protein foods. Even if you have been controlled with your first portion, if there are leftovers, you will be tempted by seconds. By all means, cook extra vegetables. If you are still hungry, have more veg!
- Use whole grain carbohydrates eg. brown rice, oats, whole meal pasta – these are higher in fibre which should help you to feel full up for longer, so you will feel more satisfied with a smaller portion. They also keep your blood sugar levels steady, so a) preventing cravings for sugary snacks later on, and b) blunting insulin release (insulin promotes fat storage).
- Make sure that you have a portion of protein with each meal eg. tuna, chicken, salmon, beef, eggs, lentils – protein induces a feeling of fullness, so making you less likely to feel the need to snack later on. Your body also uses up more energy processing protein foods.
- Use a smaller plate – this will make the amount of food you are having appear to be more
- Don’t eat straight out of a carton or packet – this makes it almost impossible to keep to one portion. Take a handful of nuts from a bag and then put the bag out of sight.
- Focus on what you are eating – try not to eat in front of your computer or television. This can result in you unconsciously eating more than you intend to.
For those without weight worries, or with high calorie needs, you can stick to the same principles of proportions (1/4 carbs, 1/4 protein, 1/2 veg) but in larger portions sizes…..