In order to maintain a healthy weight, you need to do more than just select a balanced mixture of foods. You should also be conscious of your portion sizes, which includes how much you eat at a time.
To give you a helping hand your portion sizes and portion control, we’ve created a guide to help you understand your food sizes, so that you eat enough to keep you full for longer, without over-eating.
Keep in mind that the portion sizes outlined below are very general in nature. If you’re working towards specific fat loss goal, then these sizes may need to altered slightly. Similarly, portion sizes for women differ to that for men, as do portion sizes for people that lead extremely active lifestyles compared to people who are more sedentary.
At BIG 5 we like to do measurements of food by using our hands (a thumb of good fat per day, a palm of protein per serve), but here’s another example of portion size control that can be useful.
Fruit and Vegetables
As a general rule of thumb, you should consume 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day, at roughly 80 grams each. While a lot of fruits are already in single-portion sizes, many are a little more complicated. In order to get the most out of your diet, this is a rough estimate of the portion sizes that will help you get your 5 a day:
- Vegetables – The size of 1 cricket ball
- Salad – 1 medium sized cereal bowl
- Medium sized fruits (apples, oranges, bananas) – 1 piece of fruit
- Small fruits (mandarins, plums, kiwis) – 2 pieces of fruit
- Berries – The size of 1 tennis ball
Dairy can be a great way to get the nutritious vitamins and minerals that your body requires throughout the day. Many dairy-based products are high in protein, iodine, vitamin A, calcium and riboflavin. When trying to balance your portion control sizes, try to adhere to these general rules:
- Milk – A small glass, or 200ml
- Cheese – A matchbox size
- Yoghurt – One small pot serving
While meat can be necessary when maintaining a healthy diet, it is often over-consumed in a standard portion size. Reducing our meat intake can aid our own health, as well as the health of our planet. Follow these guidelines to ensure you aren’t overdoing the meat with your portion sizes:
- Meat or Poultry – The size of 1 deck of playing cards
- Fish – The size of 1 checkbook
Carbohydrates generally contribute to about a third of our diets, as they provide us with the essential energy and stamina to keep us going throughout the day. While necessary, carbohydrates are often overdone, as we tend to indulge in more than the recommended serving size:
- Pasta, couscous, and rice – 1 tennis ball
- Potatoes – 1 computer mouse
- Bread – 1 large roll or 2 slices
- Noodles – 1 cricket ball
Nuts and Legumes
Generally speaking, nuts, beans and legumes are a great way to incorporate veggie-free protein, and heart-healthy fats into your diet. However, it is important to watch how much you are eating, due to their high fat content.
- Whole nuts – 1 golf ball
- Beans and lentils – 1 light bulb
Saturated and monounsaturated fats find a way to creep into our everyday diets. While they are okay in moderation, it is important to control the portion sizes in which we consume them.
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salad dressing – 1 shot glass
- Butter – 1 postage stamp