Very few people know what a ‘standard’ portion looks like. In experiments in which people are asked to prepare a standard sized meal, for example, when going out the vast majority cook up portions 2-3 times bigger than those recommended by government health guidelines.
When going out to eat or buying a take-away, you will frequently be served a meal big enough for 2 or 3 people. A bought ‘tall’ coffee can contain 3 times the amount of caffeine of a standard cup.
The amount you eat is important, regardless of what it is. For example, pasta is healthy, moderately low in glycaemic index and contains no fat. However, if you eat enough of it, you’ll gain weight. This is the same for apples, chicken breast, porridge – you name it! So, to manage weight, we have to exercise portion control.
All of the eating plans in my books follow sensible portion sizes. To give you a visual mental reference of what this looks like so that you’re not led astray by oversized restaurant portions, here is a reference list of food portions, sized by everyday household objects:
A matchbox portion = 1 serving (30g/1oz)
Fist sized portion = 1 serving 1/2 cup uncooked
A computer mouse = 1 serving when cooked
Fist sized portion = 1 serving (85g/3oz)
A credit card 2.5cm thick = 1 serving (85g/3oz)
A mini compact disc = 1 serving
SLICE OF PIZZA
Standard white DL envelope = 1 serving
At breakfast, it’s important to balance the ratio of protein, carbs and a portion of fruit. Whether you opt for boiled egg and soldiers with a piece of fruit, wholegrain ceral with milk and a small handful of nuts or a piece of toast with peanut butter or my personal favourite, white almond butter. Being aware of the portion sizes you eat versus those you should be eating, will surprise you and, once you implement these changes you will start to notice a difference in how you look and feel.