Getting your portion size right

From supersized soft drinks and buckets of popcorn at the movies to major muffins at your local coffee shop, it is apparent that portion sizes have increased radically over the years. Unfortunately along with this increase has come a rise in obesity and our ability to accurately judge an appropriate portion size.

We know that it is important for weight maintenance and essential for weight loss to think about your portion size when eating. A simple way to get your portion sizes right and ensure you are eating a range of nutrients is to aim to portion your meals according to the following plate split:

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  1. Vegetables – Fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies & fruits (think variety and colour!). High-fibre, low-energy veggies like broccoli, beans, carrot, capsicum and spinach are great options.
  2. Proteins – Include a good serve (approx. ¼ plate) of a protein-rich food such as seafood, lean meat, chicken, eggs, legumes, tofu or dairy.
  3. Smart Carbs – Add a portion (approx. ¼ plate) of a high-fibre, low-GI carbohydrate such as sweet potato, whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa or legumes.
  4. Good Fats – We also need good fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, avocado & extra virgin olive oil.

What about standard serving sizes?

With the supervised serves all around us you may be surprised to see the recommended serving size for many common foods.

Nuts:

It’s recommended that you stick to 30 grams of unsalted nuts a day (or 1/3 cup). This equates to approximately:

  • 20 almonds
  • 10 Brazil nuts
  • 15 cashews
  • 20 hazelnuts
  • 15 macadamias
  • 60 pistachios in shells for 30g of kernels
  • A small handful of mixed nuts

Avocado:
Aim to stick to ¼ of an avocado a day or 50 grams four times a week.

Poultry, Seafood, Meat and Meat Alternatives (seeds, legumes, beans):

  • Women (19- 50 years) should aim for 2.5 serves each day.
  • Men (19- 50 years) should aim for 3 serves each day.

What’s considered a standard serve?

  • 65–100g cooked meat or chicken
  • 80–120g cooked fish fillets
  • Two small eggs
  • Half a cup cooked or canned legumes

Fruit:

Men and Women (of all ages) should aim for 2 serves a day.

One serve of fruit equates to:

  • One medium piece of fruit such as an apple, banana, pear, orange
  • Two smaller pieces of fruit, for example apricots or kiwi fruits
  • A cup canned fruit or fruit salad
  • 1-2 tablespoons of raisins or sultanas
  • 125mL (1/2 cup) fruit juice

Vegetables:

  • Men (19- 50 years) should aim for 6 serves of veggies each day.
  • Women (19- 50 years) should aim for 5 serves each day.

What’s considered a standard serve?

  • One cup salad
  • Half a cup cooked vegetables
  • One tomato

Bread, cereal, rice and pasta:

Men and Women (19-50 years) should aim for 6 serves each day.

What’s considered a standard serve?

  • One cup cooked rice, cereal, pasta or porridge
  • 60g bread (two medium slices)
  • One medium bread roll

Dairy Products:

Men and Women (19-50 years) should aim for 2.5 serves each day.

What’s considered a standard serve?

  • One cup (250mL) milk
  • One small carton (200g) yoghurt
  • Two slices (40g) cheese

Paying attention to portion sizes and your recommended serves each day will help you stay on track by avoiding mindless eating, while helping to ensure you are getting the varied nutrients your body needs to perform at its peak.

Fruit and vegetables

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