Society has changed the way we view portion sizes. What we think is a “normal” portion, may actually be enough to feed 2-3 people. Restaurants and fast-food chains cater to the demands of “Value for Money” by offering super-sized and large plate meals. The main reason most individuals fail to lose weight is purely based on portion size. Working out what a single portion is, may sound quite complex and confusing, however it’s actually quite simple! Here are a few tips on how to make your meals both balanced and appropriately portioned. – remember, once you know it you know it.
Use your hands
This method is used to help visualise YOUR portion- meaning your hands are a different size to say your colleagues and therefore your portion could be slightly bigger or smaller.
- Use 2 open hands to help guide vegetable or salad servings (this is the minimum-more the better)
- Use your fist for fruit servings (12 Grapes on average = One fist size) One 80g whole fruit (banana, apple pear) is also a portion.
- Use your fist to help measure a healthy serving of carbohydrate (rice, pasta, potatoes)
- Use your palm to help measure a healthy serving of meat, fish and alternatives (Quorn).
- Use your thumb tip as a serving of fats (oil/butter/mayonnaise) and use your whole thumb to help measure high fat protein portions (nut butter/hard cheeses)
This strategy can be useful for some individuals as once you have weighed the food, you can then visualise what a single portion looks like. Overtime you can lose the scales as you have adjusted your portions. Here are a few examples of weighted single portions.
- 140g (palm of hand)= Cooked oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel)
- 60-90g (palm of hand)= Cooked meat (chicken, beef, pork, mince, lamb)
- 150g (2 tablespoons)= baked beans, kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas
- 30g (small handful)= nuts
Most packaged food such as rice and pasta come with serving suggestions. Therefore when preparing meals take note of these suggestions and weigh your pasta according to how many people you are serving. Most individuals are shocked to learn that a 500g bag of pasta should serve 6 people