Betty Doyling

How to maintain control of your food portion sizes

  • Size matters: by mastering proper portions, it is possible to reach and maintain healthy weight-loss goals (Photograph supplied)

We’ve all heard it before: eat too much and you’ll gain weight.

With all of the supersize options, it can be challenging knowing how much to eat and when to cap your intake.

Research shows that in most supermarkets even single-serving items exceed standard serving sizes.

When most of us were little, we were encouraged to “finish our plates” and now we do it out of habit, with our plates being too big and stuffed with too much food. Most of us assume that smaller portion sizes will mean going hungry.

However, mastering proper portions can help to eliminate overeating and hunger and help you reach and maintain your healthy weight-loss goals. Here are a few easy portion-control tricks:

Check your plate size

At home we tend to eat from a plate or saucer that measures between six and eight inches.

We rarely go back for seconds and still feel quite satisfied.

If you eat from ten-inch plates, try using smaller ones.

If you pack food for work, try using a smaller bowl or lidded container.

A single scoop of ice cream, for example, looks a lot more satisfying in a smaller bowl.

Baking single servings of food in ramekins is another fun way to manage portions of foods like macaroni and cheese, lasagne or apple pie.

Start with your vegetables

Before adding rice, pasta or meat to your plate, fill at least half with vegetables. This definitely limits your portions of the higher-calorie foods and, even if you do clean your plate, half of it was veggies!

Prioritising nutrient-dense foods like veggies in your diet and focusing less on higher calorie foods is a great way to maintain healthy portion sizes for weight loss.

Use your hand

Your hand can be very useful in portion control: one serving of eggs, fish or meat is about the size of your palm; a serving of grains, starches, fruits and veggies is about the size of your fist; a serving of fat is about the size of your thumb.

You may need a bit more or less from your portions depending on your genetics, muscle mass, physical activity levels and age, however start with these guidelines and tweak as needed.

Look for single serving packages

Try to find snack packs of your favourite snack foods. Pre-portioned foods can give you a new, healthier cue for how much you should really eat and offer an easier way to cut down on portion sizes without feeling deprived. If your favourite snacks do not offer smaller portions, divide them into portions immediately after shopping to avoid sitting down and consuming an entire bag or container.

Watch your portions and B-Active For Life!

Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Check her out on Facebook: