How much is too much?
Portion control – what is it and why is it important? Portion control is understanding the energy content of foods and what a ‘serving’ of food should be. These days, it's easy to have too much or too little of certain foods without realising it. So portion control is vital in everyday life to ensure that you are getting the right foods, in the right quantities.
What your plate should look like…
If you have a look at the healthy eating plate, you will see the bulk of your meals should come from fruits and vegetables, and the other half made up in equal amounts of carbohydrates and proteins. Having spaghetti bolognese for dinner? Well, the mince and pasta will make up half of your meal, so the other half should come from vegetables or fruits. Calories are needed to fuel our bodies but, if you overindulge, these calories may be stored as fats. By understanding portion control, you will better equip yourself to stay at a healthy weight range, and boost your energy levels.
Supersized portions? It’s easy to cut down!
If you believe you might be having portions that are too large, it’s simple and easy to cut down. Most of us would finish off everything we have included on our plates, so it can be easy to overeat at meal times. Measuring out your food portions may seem tedious at first, but you will soon learn what a ‘serving’ of various foods looks like on your plates at home. Before you know it, you will understand what that portion size looks like for life!
Having smaller, regular meals will help you to stave off hunger all day. If you skip meals, you are therefore feeling hungrier when the next meal comes around, and this can lead to over-eating. Have leftovers? Portion control can be used with these too! By using smaller containers for food storage, you can ensure that you have the correct amount and avoid the temptation to over-eat. Be sure to keep hydrated all day with up to 8 glasses of water, as this too will help you to feel full up for longer.
So, what is a portion?
It can be difficult to figure out what constitutes one portion of the foods you have on a daily basis. We have included, where possible, a visual cue to show what one portion of an average food looks like, approximately. The healthy eating plate will aid you in how many portions you should be having of each of the food groups daily.
Size Matters! Here's your portion
Size Matters! Here's your portion
|Apple||Tennis ball||Red meat||Deck of cards|
|Banana (small)||Finger to thumb||Poultry||Slightly larger than a deck of cards|
|Orange||Tennis ball||Fish||Deck and 1/2 of cards|
|Mandarin||2 pieces||Nuts||Fit snugly in palm|
|Kiwi||2 pieces||Beans||3 heaped tablespoons|
|Strawberries||Small handful||Pasta, Cereal, Rice||Size of Golf ball|
|Cheese||Size of matchbox||Bagel||Half a bagel|
|Milk||1 small glass||Vegetables|
|Ice cream||1 scoop||Salad leaves||Tennis ball|
|Cottage cheese||Half a cup||Cooked/Raw veg||Tennis ball|
Fruit: 1 portion is about 80g
Vegetables: 1 portion is about 80g. Most vegetables are what we call 'free foods'. You can have as much as you like, but this will not have an effect on your weight loss. The table below will show what one portion is, however you should fill half your plate up with lots of veggies.
Proteins: Are also classed into different portion groups depending on the protein
Grains: As all grains are different, there are different portion sizes for different grains
Dairy: Much the same as grains, there are different portion sizes for different types of dairy.
Fats One serving is around 1 teaspoon, but fats come in all shapes and sizes! Try to keep servings of butter to a teaspoon, or alternatively go for lower fat versions and use ‘light’ cooking sprays rather than lots of oil.
Whether you’re on a diet, looking to increase muscle mass for fitness or just want to stay healthy – portion control is paramount. By understanding what portion control is, and why it’s important, you can improve your health significantly. Eating the right foods in the right quantities will help you to keep at a healthy weight, boost your energy levels and ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.To get started with eating correct portions, why not visit our Recipe Centre? There, you'll find healthy meals with the right portion size for you.