To live a healthy life we must know how much food is enough for us as lack of awareness about portion sizes is often the reason people struggle to control their weight. To achieve a healthy weight, how much we eat is just as important as what we eat. The consumption of food, which is high in energy density, contributes to excess energy intake and thus the development of obesity. First we have to understand the meaning of portions and servings.
The word “portion “means how much of a food served and how much consumed. It is very hard to measure out the portion of food as portion size varies from meal to meal.
A serving size- The amount of food listed on the products nutritional facts. It is standardised amount of food.
Getting portion sizes right
Unfortunately, portion size can be complex at first and it may take time to get right. So, when starting out here are some things to consider.
Check your plate size
- Many Studies have found the physical size of a plate influences how much we eat.
- If our plates have become bigger over time, it means we are overeating.
- To combat this, use entree-sized dishes to keep your quantities limited
Measure your food
- It’s not for everyone, but measuring portions will ensure consistency.
- To make sure in order to get portions right.
To understand the serving size check the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods and number of servings per package. And be aware of “portion distortion”. The recommended serving size is often less than the amount you’re used to eating or the portion you are served, while eating outside.
Estimating Portion Sizes
Measuring cups and spoons are great tools for making sure our portion is the same as the serving size. However, these tools are not usually available when you’re getting ready to eat. Alternative way to estimate the portion is by comparing it to something else.
- An average-sized fist: Measures about 1 cup – for fruit juice
- Scooped handful: Measures about ½ cup – for grains
- The palm of the hand: Measures about 3 ounce-equivalents (fish chicken and other meats)
- The size of the thumb: Measures about 1 tablespoon (for peanut butter)
- The tip of the pointer finger: Measures about 1 teaspoon (for oils and fats)
While serving sizes are a valuable tool, it’s important to listen to our body while eating. It gets an idea of what the serving’s size looks like.
Overcoming Portion Distortion
Try the following to overcome portion distortion and downsize your helpings
- Read the label. The Nutrition Facts label can help to identify the appropriate serving size.
- Eat from a plate, not a package. It’s easier to eat more than one serving than eating straight from the box or bag.
- Use the right tools. Try portioning out foods with measuring cups and spoons to get an idea of what the serving size looks like.