Portion Control. Are you eating too much?

Portion Control. Are you eating too much?

Probably, most people do...

Portion Control. Are you eating too much?

Probably, most people do, hence the reason why obesity is becoming more prevalent in the U.K. So let’s educate ourselves. Here are a few tips for cutting portion sizes down:

- Eat from a smaller plate or bowl for your meals. A small plate full of food is much more cheerful than a larger plate that looks half empty.
- Don’t leave the remainders on the table or out on the side to pick at, or have seconds. Put it out of site and away in the fridge or freezer as quickly as is possible.
- Do not eat while doing something that can distract you, such as watching TV (especially the news) or eating on the run. This kicks in your sympathetic nervous system, or your flight or fight mode, which slows down or stops digestion. It also makes you eat more. Slow down your eating by putting the knife and fork down between each mouthfuls and chewing food until it is a liquid. After one mouthful is completely gone, then pick up the knife and fork to cut your food for the next. It takes 20 minutes for the food to reach your stomach and tell you that you feel full so wait at least that before you have seconds or a dessert.
- Keeps things healthy and balanced whilst cutting your portion sizes down and try not to cut out any food groups.
- Drinking a glass of water may fill you up before a meal but I would not advise this if you are having any digestive issues, as it can dilute your digestive enzymes.
- If you are cutting your portion sizes to loose weight, consider writing a food journal. You will be surprised what a difference it makes seeing the amount of food you consume written down.

One portion of fruit and vegetables (Am for 7 a day, 5 vegetables and 2 fruit)

Large fruit
A large slice of pineapple or papaya, or two slices of mango or half a grapefruit.

Medium sized fruit
One apple, orange, banana or peach

Small fruit
Two small fruits such as kiwis, plums, satsumas or clementines.

Grape and berries
A handful of grapes or berries.

Dried fruit
A heaped teaspoon of raisins, cranberries or sultanas. Be careful though as there are a lot of concentrated sugar and should be avoided if watching your weight.

Salad Leaves
Five tablespoons

Fruit juice

A 150ml glass. These can only account for one a day, no matter how much you drink, because the fibre is not included as in whole fruits and vegetables. Also the sugar content is high so restrict the amount you drink.

Mixed Vegetables
Three heaped teaspoons of peas, carrots, sweet corn and mixed veg, or a small corn on the cob.

Tips to help you achieve 7 a day

- Add a vegetable smoothie to your daily diet, adding a fruit to sweeten it up.
- Include salads or salad accompaniments to your lunch sandwich or just exchange for a salad for interest.
- Remember 50% of your dinner plate should be vegetables.
- Fruit eaten throughout the day can be eaten with 4-5 nuts to slow the blood sugar levels.

One portion of Protein

140g cooked fish - about the size of a chequebook. Aim to eat oily fish 3 times a week. This includes salmon, tuna (fresh or tinned, only once a week), trout, anchovies, sardines, herring and mackerel.

Beans and pulses
Three heaped tablespoons. Be careful of tins of baked beans (200g can equals one portion), as they can contain up to 6 tsps of sugar.

Lean meat
70g (cooked) meat - about the size of a deck of cards. Limit red meat to 70g, three times a week. Consider processed red meats such as bacon and burgers to be high in saturated fat and salt which can raise your blood pressure and cholesterol and in turn, your risk of heart disease and bowel cancer.

Two medium sized eggs.

Pulses e.g lentils
Five tablespoons

Two tablespoons (40g) - about a small handful.

Tofu or soya
Twio sausages or 120g (uncooked)

Women aim for 2-3 portions a day. Pregnant women will need more.
Men aim for 3 portions a day.

One portion of non dairy sources of protein and calcium

Half a can (50g - drained of brine). Great Omega 3 source also.

Soya, nut, rice and oat milk
A large glass (200ml) - calcium enriched.

Dark green leafy vegetables
Four heaped tablespoons (80g) that’s cooked. Curly kale is a good example.

Ten whole almonds (22g)

Sesame seeds
A tablespoon (12g). Tahini is also a great source.


Carbohydrates get a bad press, but you need them for energy to fuel your muscles, other organs and brain. The trick is to eat the right type of carbohydrate and not to eat too much, because if you do, it will transfer to stored fat in the body. Wholegrain carbohydrates are the ’good’ carbs which our body needs for a whole host of nutrients and may reduce your risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. The more the wholegrains are processed to make them look whiter, the part of the grain that contains the fibre and nutrients are removed and just become sugar when in the body, becoming the ’bad’ carbs. Eating empty calories with no nutrient foods such as white pasta, rice, bread, cakes, biscuits and potatoes should really be avoided or cut down to a minimum.
Aim to eat two portions of carbohydrates per meal, but you can have up to eight a day. If you are trying to loose weight, eat four to six but refrain eating them at your evening meal. One portion of carbohydrate is:

Breakfast cereal
Porridge oats (20g, three tablespoons) are the best as they are a slow releasing carbohydrate and will keep your energy levels for longer.

One slice of bread, half a bagel or roll, one crumpet, half pitta bread or half a muffin.

Two small (egg sized) boiled potatoes.

two heaped tablespoons (80g) of cooked boiled rice.

Three heaped tablespoons (80g) of cooked noodles. There are loads of variety of noodles you can get that are an alternative to wheat such as brown rice, millet or buckwheat which cause less digestive issues and are easier on the gut.

Three heaped tablespoons (80g) of cooked boiled pasta. See above for a variety of pasta also.

This information will be on my blog later this week if you would like to print it out and keep it. You can find it on my website Reachfornutrition.co.uk.