So you now know what you are eating but what is a Portion Size?
Here are outlined recommended portion sizes and amounts for an average adult aiming to maintain his or her weight. If you’re aiming to lose excess weight, you will need to eat fewer portions than this.
Eight to 10 portions per day (to maintain weight for an average adult, depending on activity level – we have learnt that starchy foods are our main source of energy and should form the basis of every meal. Here are some examples of starchy foods and portion size guidelines:
A day’s amount may include nine tablespoons of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and six tablespoons of rice with dinner. Remember try to go for wholegrain or wholemeal versions of starchy foods as they are likely to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
And if you decide to include most of your day’s quota of starchy foods in one meal, cut down throughout the rest of the day.
Meat, fish and other proteins
Three portions per day – with at least one portion of oily fish a week
This group includes non-dairy sources of protein, which is important for growth and repair. Try to include one portion in at least two of your daily meals. One portion counts as the following.
A day’s worth from this group might mean two eggs with breakfast and a piece of fish for dinner; or a chicken salad for lunch and half a tin of baked beans with dinner. Try to limit your intake of red and processed meat.
Three portions a day
Dairy foods contain calcium for healthy bones and teeth, and are also a good source of protein. Try to include one portion with every meal, and go for lower-fat options when you can however do remember that sometimes in low fat yoghurts there can be higher in sugar so you could have a full fat yoghurt in a smaller portion or in moderation!
A portion includes the following.
The milk on your cereal and in your tea all counts. Go for lower-fat cheese and yoghurts, and skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. These contain just as much calcium as full-fat versions.
Fruit and vegetables
At least five portions a day this is just the recommended minimum amount that was agreed in war time to ensure people kept off scurvy and some nutrition experts actually say it should be nearer 8-10!
One portion is 80g of any fruit or vegetable. Examples include:
Have a glass of fruit juice with your breakfast and snack on fruit throughout the day. If you have a sandwich at lunchtime, including some salad will contribute towards another of your five a day.
Fat and sugar
Limit your intake of these foods
Foods high in fat include butter, cream, chocolate and cakes. Foods and drinks high in sugar include soft drinks, sweets and biscuits. You should only eat foods from this group sparingly unless as we discussed in the weeks before it is a good fat for example seeds, avocado’s, tbsp. olive oil on salads etc.
Tips for cutting down portions sizes
Many people are surprised when they realise what a typical portion size should look like. If you’re used to piling your plate high with pasta or filling your bowl to the brim with cereal, it can come as quite a shock. But once you cut down, you’ll soon get used to eating less.
Here are some general pointers if you think you need to cut down portion sizes.
- Use smaller plates or bowls for your meals. A small plate full of food is much less disheartening than a large plate that’s half empty.
- You don’t need to cut down on your fruit and vegetables if you’re trying to lose weight. So if your plate is looking a bit sparse, fill it up with vegetables up to 50% of the plate could be vegetables to really ensure you are running your body at its healthiest! And if you’re craving a mid-morning snack, go for a piece of fruit.
- Think about everything you eat during the day. It’s easy to forget the biscuit you had with your tea at work or extra slice of cheese in your sandwich.
- Counting calories and weighing food is no fun and hard to keep up. Instead, compare what you usually eat against this guide for a week or so and you can start to identify areas where you’re eating more than you should.