Let’s talk portion sizes – a more carefree approach I’ve recently incorporated into my lifestyle instead of following the ‘IIFYM’ approach.
When it comes to food portions however, unfortunately, in today’s society we have completely lost all sense of proportion, and load our plates with everything – from greens, to protein to carbs – at meal times.
We’ve all been told that we’re supposed to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, but do we know what is a portion? how much we should be eating of our favourite foods?
Would you be surprised if I told you that it’s less than you think..
Often we find ourselves sitting in front of computers for 9 hours a day, whether in work or college or at home, expending a lot less energy than we think we do. The less we move, the fewer calories we burn and it’s important to always remember when it comes to calories that saying ‘Calories In V Calories Out’. We are a society prone to eating far more calories than ever before, which is why ‘portion review’ is essential especially if you’re finding you clothes a little snug.
Cheese – A Matchbox
Cheese is quite a nutrient-dense food but exceptionally easy to overeat, If you’re anything like me, a sucker for cheese and crackers.
When it comes to cheese, as a rule of thumb, one serving a day of cheese should be about a matchbox of 30-40 grams. This should keep your fat and calorie intake controlled.
Meat or Fish – A Palm
Whether you’re new to healthy eating and fitness or a golden oldie, you’ll have heard by now, that PROTEIN is the new diet ESSENTIAL. And for this reason, it is so easy to overeat chicken or fish.
However, my advice as always – everything in moderation. Keep Meats or Fish to a Palm-Sized portion of 70-100grams when cooked.
Protein is quite nutrient-dense and very nutritional, but can often overtake the place of salad and vegetables on our plates if we’re not careful. It is advisable that you opt for a palm size at lunch, and perhaps a hand size of about 150-200g in the evenings to keep you fuller for longer throughout the night.
Grains Such as Pasta or Rice – A Half Cup
Believe me, I know that there is mothing more comforting than a big bowl of pasta especially after a rough day. However it is so important to think twice about portion sizes when it comes to these Carb-rich foods. They can often leave us with a fuel overload if we are not mindful of Calories In V Calories Out.
The amount of Carbs you need will largely depend on your age and your activity levels. But for a general rule of thumb, just ½ cup cooked is all we genuinely need – especially if weight control is the goal.
Olive Oil – 1-2 Tablespoons
Would it surprise you if I told you that the average human actually has no idea how much olive oil we ACTUALLY consume on a daily basis. While the right amount of oil can be good for you, pouring it on your salads and using it while cooking can lead to a massive calorie blowout.
That is why it is so important to measure your oil portions – ideally 1-2 tablespoons in total per day.
Coffee – a Tennis Ball
Okay, I will put my hand up and say, I do not abide to this one. But it’s an interesting portion size to note. So many of us rely on coffees to get us through the day, but a lot can be quite milk-laden etc.
A large milk-based coffee such as a latte or flat white contains as many calories as a snack, and in some cases a small meal. This is why it can be so easy to overconsume calories and not realise them ‘creeping’ in.
Cut back on your coffee calories by ordering a black coffee or a smaller cup. You will see the weight drop off in no time.
Veg and Salad – One Large Asian Soup Bowl
When it comes to veg and salad, my opinion, more really is more. The easiest dietary change we can make is to bump up the veg content in our diets. Fill up and feel the difference, and this is the easiest way to cut calories, get those nutrient content of your diet and lose weight.
Chocolate – One Finger
My opinion, some chocolate a day, keeps those cravings at bay. But adding 2-3 squares of nutrient-rich chocolate to your diet daily will minimize you blowing out due to the insane restriction of having none. If you find you are having trouble controlling yourself though, why not buy portion-controlled packs.
Bread – A Small Notebook
Bread is most definitely the easiest thing to overeat, DAMN those tasty comforting carbs. Unfortunately, when it comes to bread, most of us don’t know that a portion size really is and overeating bread can do to our waistline. Large slices of bread can contain double the calories and carbs that we require or expend which is why it is important to be so mindful of portions here.
Sauces – One Tablespoon
I have a massive tendency to cover my meals in sauce which adds quite the extra amount of calories. Whether it’s mayo, tomatoe sauce, chilli sauce, BBQ sauce etc. these are all packed with extra calories. For this reason, I do advise limiting yourself to just one tablespoon of any added sauce per meal or 10g.
Follow these above portion sizes and see how your body changes. It’s not about restriction, it’s about portion control. No food groups should be eliminated but as always, everything in moderation.