What are the recommended serving sizes?
According to eatforhealth.gov.au, The Australian Guide To Healthy Eating says we should consume a variety of foods from each of the 5 main food groups.
The 5 main food groups and their recommended daily intake
- 5-6 serves vegetables and legumes
- 3-6 serves grain (cereal foods), mostly wholegrain and high fibre varieties
- 2-3 serves lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
- 3-4 serves milk, yogurt, cheese and dairy alternatives
- 2 serves fruit
But how to portion control when all you have is a list?
Simple guide to portion control
One of the simplest methods of portion control is to use your hand as a guide.
- 1 portion of meat, poultry and fish = the palm of your hand
- 1 portion of raw vegetables, canned fruit, canned legumes/beans = your fist
- 1 portion cooked rice, pasta, vegetables, fresh fruit, potato = a cupped hand
- 1 portion salad dressing, peanut butter, hard cheese = your thumb
- 1 portion sugar, oil, margarine, butter = tip of your thumb
Portion sizes using weight
Having an image in mind is useful but there are also recommended weight guidelines that you might find helpful too.
- 30g cereal flakes, granola, muesli
- 120g cooked porridge
- 250ml milk, soy milk
- 40g hard cheese
- 200g yoghurt
- 65-100g lean meat or fish
- 30g nuts or nut paste
- 1/2 cup cooked vegetables
- 1 slice of bread, half a roll
How to adjust the portions if you want to diet?
Using the portion control for weight loss requires an expert advice as everyone's metabolism, goals and exercise level is different.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines are there to promote health and wellbeing and can be used as a general guide, but in order to meet your specific weight loss goals you'll need to see a dietitian or nutritionist.
You can find a dietitian in your area by visiting the Dietitians Association of Australia Accredited Practising Dietitian Register.
What about cakes and snacks?
You'll notice the above only mentions staple foods such as meat, grains and veg.
When it comes to snacks and treats such as cookies, cakes, chips and chocolate, the Australian Dietary Guidelines say to "Only eat them sometimes and in small amounts."
If you are eating mostly healthy foods and are sticking to the above guidelines you'll be in a good position to avoid overeating due to 'portion distortion'.
Speaking of which, if you really have cooked that delicious Shepherd's Pie be sure to measure out any leftovers straight away and put it into containers before you get tempted to eat the whole lot.
I know I would!