Food & Nutrition Blog

Staying in (Portion) Control

Apr 06
portion control

Ever wondered what ‘portion control’ actually means? How much is a portion – and why is it important that it’s controlled? Portion control made easy, right here.

Not too heavy, not too light – just right.

Contrary to popular beliefs, you can have too much of a good thing. Portion control is, quite simply, ensuring that you eat a healthy amount of each of the foods that you consume, to ensure you get the benefit of the food without overeating. Having an understanding of what actually constitutes a ‘portion’ of a specific type of food can help you ensure you eat a balanced diet, whilst maintaining a healthy weight.

What’s in a portion?

The Eat For Health Australian government website looks at the five major food groups, and provides a suggested portion size for each. Suggested portions for adults are:

  • Vegetables: approximately 75g
  • Fruit: approximately 150g
  • Wholegrain foods: 500kJ
  • Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu and legumes: 500-600kJ
  • Dairy products: 500-600kJ

Simple strategies for portion control.

Sure, it’s great to know how much a portion should weigh when it comes to each of the food groups. But what if you’re out and about, without your scales? We’ve got you covered.

  • Vegetables and fruit: for non-starchy vegetables like carrots and beetroot, an easy way to measure out a portion is to cup two hands together to give you a serve that is a size close to that which is recommended. This approach is generally accepted for fruit as well. On the other hand (pun intended), a serve of starchy vegetables such as potatoes should be around the size of one closed fist. As a general rule, you should aim for five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit per day.
  • Wholegrain foods: again, a closed fist is a great indicator of what a serve of wholegrain foods should look like. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming 4-6 serves of grain foods each day.
  • Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs and legumes: this is where it gets a little tricky. The NZ Heart Foundation recommends the following – a serve of legumes is roughly the size of a closed fist. For fish, a portion is the size of your whole hand, and for meat – aim for a piece the size of your palm. Aim for two to three serves per day.

A sensible, balanced approach to portion control is an easy way to maintain overall good health.

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