New Year’s Resolution #1: eat healthier and lose weight maintain healthy weight. So this means no more chocolate, no more sugary drinks, no added sugar in my coffee, and more vegetables, low fat dairy products and lean meats. But it’s just so hard, writes Debby Liu.
Whilst these pieces of advice are good and important in themselves, it can be hard to remember all the rules to healthy eating, especially if it’s not second nature to us. Definitely keep these things in mind, but perhaps first take a look at portion sizes – because it only makes sense that the bigger the serving size, the more we end up eating, and coupled with less activity, the more likely we will put on weight.
The larger the trap
Who can resist a good deal? Food is no exception. Many of us fall into the trap of saying yes to upsizing, to the large coffee, larger chip pack, larger pack of potatoes, etc. All because it is better value and yes, perhaps we will end up using/eating it later. But what actually happens is we end up feeling obligated to finish it all, otherwise it would be a waste, right?
That’s right, it goes straight to our waist! We end up overeating and not moving enough to work off all the extra kilojoules which leads to weight gain. So the simple solution to this is to gradually decrease your portion sizes to those recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
Portion size recommendations
Here are some popular foods and their portion size recommendations for men and women aged 19-60 years. The number of serves varies depending on age, gender and medical conditions. If unsure, always speak to your doctor, pharmacist or dietician for support and advice.
|Food group||Serves||Standard serve size|
|Vegetables, legumes and beans||5-6||
|Grains and cereals||3-6||
|Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives (low fat)||2 ½ – 4||
|Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds||2-3||
Use your hands
Here is an easy way to know your portion sizes that you can carry around with you wherever you go. It’s nice and handy!
|Handy portion sizes||Approximate portion size|
|Tip of the thumb||
Source: Adapted from Queensland Health.
Five more tips for managing food portions
- Use smaller dinner plates and serve food away from the dinner table to discourage getting seconds.
- After your meal, wait 10 minutes to see if you are still hungry. If so, have more salad or vegetables.
- Restaurants tend to serve larger portion sizes. If this is the case, there is no shame in not finishing everything or even asking for the remainder to be packed away.
- Avoid eating straight from the packet. Serve the desired quantity in a small bowl and put the rest away.
- Avoid skipping meals as getting over-hungry can lead to over-eating.
So, to recap…
Starting the year by managing portion sizes is a great way to eating healthier, whilst still being able to enjoy the foods we love – albeit in smaller sizes. If ever unsure, always speak to your doctor, pharmacist or dietician for advice and support.