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Portion Control Pointers for Success | Enliven Nutrition
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Portion Control Pointers for Success

Portion control is one of the most important things to consider when looking at weight loss or maintenance.

Do you ever think about the quantity of food you are serving up on your dinner plate? Or is it rather more just about filling your plate? Often as kids we were told to eat everything on our dinner plate so that we could have that dessert. This habit is often firmly fixed into our routine that we carry it on into adult life and often overeat because we don’t understand how much food we should truly eat.

Portion vs Size

A portion size is dependent on the type of meal you are having or how hungry you are. A serve size is what is used and set by the Australian Dietary Guidelines http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/australian-dietary-guidelines-standard-serves and this doesn’t change. They use a great example to explain the difference, a serve of bread is 1 slice but if you are having a sandwich for lunch then the portion size is 2 slices.

Often what we consider a serve or a portion is actually far greater than what it actually should be. Overtime our perception of size has been increasing and consequently this means we eat more. Increasing our portion sizes is a surefire way of getting extra calories into our diet.

Portion control doesn’t mean less food

Whilst, it is often important to decrease food quantities at meal times, this does not always apply and there are certain foods where you can eat more! Straight up, half your dinner meal should be non-starchy vegetables – that is all your salad and green vegetables. These vegetables will help keep you full, but reduce the overall calories consumed.

Berries, like other fruit do have natural sugars but overall they are high in vitamins, minerals and fibre and are incredibly low in calories. So add them to breakfast, yoghurt or smoothies!

Tips to manage your portion sizes

You don’t need to weigh or measure your food each and every time you eat but learning to eyeball your portion sizes can help with managing intake. Using guides such as your hands, deck of cards or dice etc can help. For example meat should be the palm size of your hand or the size of a deck of cards. Your fist can be equal to roughly a cup measure, so 1 cup salad vegetables or ½ cup of oats.

Here are some other helpful tips to help you manage your portion control.

  1. Eat slowly, this will help you recognise when you are actually full.
  2. Eat mindfully without distraction. Concentrating on the food, smell, taste and feel, assists us to enjoy the food and feeling satisfied.
  3. Use smaller plates! Have you noticed our dinner plates are getting larger and larger and we keep filling them up!
  4. If you make a large dish of food for dinner, serve up each individual portion and put the rest into fridge. Dishing up at the dinner table often results in taking seconds even when you don’t feel like it.
  5. I strongly believe in everything in moderation, so if you want that chocolate, go for the small fun size. This helps with portion control especially when self-control is a problem!

For more information on portion size and your requirements, be sure to book a consultation with one of our experience dietitians today. Medicare and Private Health Fund rebates apply for our Allied Health Professional nutrition services.

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