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.