When it comes to weight loss and healthy eating, what you eat is only part of the equation. How much you eat makes up the second part of the algorithm and is often just as important as what you’re putting on your plate.
The modern, western diet is filled to the brim with enormous portions. Whether we’re taking away, eating out, or cooking for ourselves, the amount of food on our plates has continued to grow over the past decade. I’m sure we’ve all been offered the option to ‘upgrade to a large XYZ’ or seen the size of some of the slabs of meat at Coles and Woolies that are supposed to constitute a single serve.
Part of the problem lies in our ingrained attitude towards food and consumption. From a very young age, we are encouraged to eat everything that we are served and to clear our plates, so to speak. I’m sure many people can recall family dinners where there was no dessert if dinner wasn’t completely finished.
While enjoying our food and having a healthy attitude to what we are served is important, we often grow up confused as to exactly how much we actually need to eat. It doesn’t help that when faced with a full plate, we often end up eating everything on offer, simply because when we are faced with food and begin eating, we find it very difficult to assess the actual portions included.
So what’s the solution? The best way to keep an eye on how much you’re eating is to get to know your portion sizes and stick to serving that size up on your plate. If you don’t have a piece of chicken the size of toddler’s head on offer, you’re not going to end up overeating.
Another way to avoid blowing out your portions is to divide your plate into sections, for example protein, veggies and carbs. Fill up the veggies section with plenty of delicious options and top off the plate with a serving of protein and carbs.
Check out the following and familiarise yourself with what constitutes 1 serve or portion of your favourite foods.
- Cereal – 1 cup
- Bread – 2 slices
- Rice/pasta/noodles – 1 cup
- Sweet potato – 1/2 medium sweet potato
- Potato – 1 medium potato
- Fruit (bananas/apple/orange/pear/mango) – 1 medium sizes piece
- Dried fruit – 1.5 tbsp sultanas or 4 dried apricots
- Milk – 250ml glass
- Yoghurt – 200g tub
- Chicken – 65-100g or a fist sized breast fillet
- Lamb – 65-100g or two small lamb chops
- Beef – 65-100g or a palm sized fillet/steak etc
- Eggs – 2 small
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