Portion size guidelines are important whether you are trying to lose or maintain your weight or simply want to eat in a way that helps you remain healthy. The size of your portions is one of the keys to having a healthy relationship with food.
The Right Portion Starts With the Right Size Plate or Bowl
Studies show that we eat with our eyes as well as our sense of smell and our taste. If you have the correct portion size on an extremely large plate, the portions will look small and unsatisfactory. However, if you use the right size plate, those that are about 25cm (or 10 inches) in diameter, it looks more appealing. A slightly smaller plate with a normal portion size looks larger and eating that portion will psychologically help you to feel full.
The Right Foods in the Right Quantity
It doesn’t matter what size of plate you eat from if you aren’t eating the right foods in the right proportions. When preparing a plate of food for weight loss or your health divide the plate in half and fill one half of the plate with vegetables with the emphasis being on raw or lightly steamed vegetables in a wide variety of colours and textures. Vegetables are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals and fibre that your body needs to remain healthy.
Once you have filled ½ your plate with vegetables (you can include a couple of pieces of fruit daily, this also works well as a snack), then lean protein should take up ¼ of the plate. The rule of thumb is that protein should be about the size and thickness as the palm of your hand. Proteins include meats like chicken and turkey, cuts of lamb, beef, meats such as venison, emu and more. In addition, fish can be part of a healthy diet. Salmon is high in omega 3 fatty acids and lighter, white fish is a great protein option. Vegetarians can get their protein from eggs, non-GMO tofu and other foods used in combination.
Starches should make up the last ¼ of your plate. When choosing starches I like root vegetables like sweet potato, parsnips, swede, legumes, brown rice, beans, and whole grains. About 1/2 cup is sufficient for most people but depends on your level of activity and individual health requirements.
Spice Up Your Life
Using a wide variety of spices and herbs in preparing your meals will make that healthy food taste better, and keep your food from becoming boring. Consuming less sodium and more spices will help you make your food more exciting. Herbs and spices all have their own health benefits, so use the ones you love freely.
Out of Sight Out of Mind
Along with exercising portion control at meals you also need to portion out and choose healthy snacks. One way of consuming less of those high-calorie snacks is to keep them out of sight. Studies show that when you keep lollies in clear glass jars or purchase large bags of chocolate or chips you are likely to consume more (have you ever eaten a family bag of chips?). By keeping these treats out of sight, or better yet out of your house, you are less likely to reach for them.
In addition, if you keep healthy snacks such as chopped carrots, cherry tomatoes and celery sticks where they are readily available and easy to see you are more likely to reach for these low-calorie vitamin-packed snacks than those that are high in fats and sugars.
Controlling portions will help you improve your health.