Foodfit

11 Ways to Reign in Your Portion Sizes

Forget counting calories, that is so old school. We now know that kilojoules are not created equal, and eating a strict number of calories doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a healthier leaner body nor a nutritious diet.  So instead, let’s focus on something else that takes a lot less effort plus it’ll reframe the way you approach what you eat.

By focussing on your portion sizes, you’ll be surprised at how a simple and effective a non-diet modification can be.

If you have a bit (or a lot) of portion distortion going on are you aware of it? And what are the right portions anyways, I hear you say?

Well for starters it comes down to habits, which were more than likely formed during our childhood when we were told to ‘eat everything on our plate”. We relied on our parents to dictate our appetite often with bribery of dessert on the side. It was like a loaded dice. Eat more now so you can eat more later… we lost our internal cues of hunger along the way.

External factors are also at work with bigger servings meaning better value for money when eating out. “Wow, what a bargain .. all these hot chips for $2!”. “Great, refillable soft drink for $4” Sound familiar?

So what are the guidelines to follow for portion sizes? 

Serving sizes on food labels is not telling you the amount you should be eating. The serving size is a guide to help you see how many calories and nutrients — as well as how much fat, sugar, and salt — are in a specific quantity of that food. (source)  A portion size, on the other hand, is the amount of food you eat in one sitting, regardless of how much your body actually needs. See the difference?

Here’s an example

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 It’s more an understanding of how much food our bodies need as opposed to how much it wants.

Portion Control Tips

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  1. Practice mindful eating. (slowly, chewing, taking breaths etc)
  2. Serve food on smaller plates so meals look larger. See the example I prepared earlier 😉
  3. Try single-serving sizes to help your family learn what an appropriate portion is.
  4. Maintain a steady supply of energy with balanced meals so you’re not tempted to overeat.
  5. Dish out portions to a bowl rather than taking a whole packet of something. Morish means morish!
  6. Fill up on salads and vegetables this adds bulk to your meal and can trick us into thinking we are eating a lot.
  7. Try sharing meals at restaurants or ordering appetisers as mains, then you won’t be tempted to get your monies worth!
  8. Separate large cook-ups or bulk buys straight away and store them accordingly. That way, you won’t be tempted to over-serve yourself.
  9. Don’t be fooled into thinking there is better value in a larger smoothie or muffin. Be happy with a smaller version, it’s really not worth it.
  10. Dish out meals at the counter and avoid bringing the whole pot to the table. Not keeping the food at arm’s length can make your family think twice about reaching for seconds. If they do want seconds, offer more veggies or salads.
  11. Allow children to dictate (to an extent) how much they eat. We fill up faster on nutrient-dense foods as opposed to empty sugar-laden calories.  A great way to help teach kids is with the help of a portion control plate.
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14 Comments

  • Reply Lydelle May 5, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    OH my god….. one thumb tip is the correct serving of nut butter… sooooo that’s where I’m going wrong. I do a heaped tablespoon lol

    • Reply Karla {Ironmum Karla} May 5, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      I know!! Pass me the spoon please ha ha

    • Reply kate May 7, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      Umm marrr! I do a heaped tea spoon! Oopps! These tips need to be taught at school, the kids could take a pamphlet home to their parents

      • Reply Karla {Ironmum Karla} May 7, 2015 at 7:28 pm

        Simple life skills that just get skipped in the school system, where learning is comprised through poor nutrition. It’s crazy stuff Kate!

  • Reply Karen Cuthbert May 8, 2015 at 9:03 am

    These look fantastic! I have an almost 8 year old who we are trying to get to understand how much is enough food – just yesterday he had a full healthy lunch at school and then complained to his teacher he was hungry and they gave him another sandwich – even though he had already eaten a lovely fresh ham and cheese roll :-/ These would be great to show him how much a portion should be, he is one of those kids who will eat until he makes himself sick

    • Reply Karla {Ironmum Karla} May 8, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Oh dear Karen, is there something you could perhaps try like a few small healthy snacks so he isn’t getting to the point of being so hungry at a certain meal time and then overfeeding himself? I know kids don’t like to stop and take the time to eat but it may help?

      • Reply Karen Cuthbert May 8, 2015 at 9:32 pm

        It seems to be a real problem for him at school, his teacher i feel is someone who doesnt quite understand portion sizing and overeating. They have a crunch and sip break where he has fruit and water in the morning, then lunch 1 they can eat whatever they like so he empties his lunchbox (fruit, veg, snack and a main – today was rice and thai chicken balls) :-/ His teachers solution is just pack an extra sandwich for him but that wont solve the issue.

        I found some portion size info geared towards kids while having a little look around the net this evening, will sit down with him again and have a chat.

        It is so important for kids to learn, sadly upsized meals are the norm these days

        • Reply Karla {Ironmum Karla} May 9, 2015 at 10:21 am

          Hmm, yes it sounds like he needs something with some sustenance a bit earlier in the day. The food you pack sounds great. How is his breakfast? Does he eat it? Is he going to school topped up? If he isn’t a big breakfast eater then it’s usually because kids are eating too much dinner and a few little tweaks are needed.

          • Karen Cuthbert May 13, 2015 at 8:06 am

            His breakfast is good and he polishes everything off. I am starting to send lots of small containers with him to school, hopefully that will mean he can only take a few and still have some left for his second break….hopefully! Just got to figure out what will fill him up and keep him satisfied. Trying chia pudding today

        • Reply Karla {Ironmum Karla} May 12, 2015 at 3:25 pm

          Hay Karen, can you please email me your postal details, I thought you were a very worthwhile winner for the prize pack ๐Ÿ˜‰ ironmumkarla@gmail.com

          • Karen Cuthbert May 13, 2015 at 8:07 am

            Oh wow Karla, thank you! And thank you so much for your replies, just to get some different ideas and a different perspective ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Karen Steeles May 8, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    What a fabulous idea!!! Thanks for sharing all your amazing information Karla. I would love to see all children have these platesโ€ฆ. Brilliant idea xxxx

  • Reply Kylie May 8, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Excellent idea! With a child who has a tendency to overeat, this pack would be perfect!

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