Portion control plays a very important role in the maintenance of a healthy diet
Portion control plays a very important role in the maintenance of a healthy diet or in weight loss. The basic concept of controlling your portion sizes is that you are not eating more than you actually need and therefore exceeding your requirements of energy, fats, sugars and sodium. This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin. We provide individualised weight loss plans.
To make an appointment for a personalised weight loss program, Contact us today!
We see children and adults for advice with all areas of diet and nutrition. This article provides general advice about strategies for weight loss and is not a substitute for management by a dietitian.
Portion control plates
Below are pictures of portion plates. They have been designed as a simple guide to what your plate should look like at dinner or lunch. One half of your plate should consist of vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach, carrot), one quarter should consist of protein (e.g. lean meat, fish, poultry, tofu, legumes) and the last quarter can be dedicated to carbohydrate containing foods (e.g. pasta, rice, potato. Low GI, wholegrain options where possible).
Where can these plates be found?
Portion control plates similar to the ones above can be purchased from the following link, as part of a package. However, the plates are not required to follow the basic principle above.
Portion control diet
A portion control diet is basically just healthy eating. In accordance with a healthy diet, it involves being mindful of how much you are consuming – which should be practiced by everyone.
Following the Australian Guide to healthy eating is a great start! The guide provides recommendations for the number of servings you should be having from each food groups, each day. The guide as well provides examples of what constitutes a serving size. Therefore, sticking to the recommended number of serves and serving sizes will aid in portion control. These points are discussed further below.
Food portion control
The table below is an illustration of how many serves of each food group are recommended based on your gender and age. These are the recommendations developed by the Australian Government. Recommendations for children can be found by following the link below the image. The recommendations were updated and released early this year.
Following this will help to control how many portions you have in a day. This is important as you may have your portion sizes down pat but if you are eating them frequently over the whole day, they can add up.
The above recommendations were taken from: Eat For Health
The link below will take you to a government website that gives examples of what one portion from each of the 5 food groups consists of.
Following the serving sizes in the link will help you to control the size of your portions
Until you become used to what a portion looks like visually, measuring and weighing food may help to gain some perspective – you may be surprised by how much you are actually exceeding one serve!
In the image below, the bowl on the left contains ¼ cup of muesli (equivalent to 1 portion). The bowl to the right contains 1 cup of muesli which is likely closer to what people actually eat and is worth 4 servings of grains. Additionally, many people now eat breakfast in larger bowls than they once did – this will make the portion size look a lot smaller than it actually is.
You can have more than one portion of these foods at a time but it is best to stick within the recommended serves over the whole day. For example, 1 slice of bread is equivalent to one portion of the grains food group, however, you would have 2 portions if you were having a sandwich which makes up 2 out of your 6 serves for the day if you are between 19 – 50.
Portion control tips
- Become familiar with your bodies signs of hunger and satiety (satisfaction)
- Consider how much food you will really need to feel satisfied and only dish out that amount – do not dish out more than you need with the intention of putting the leftovers away!
- Slow the pace of your eating so your stomach has time to register that it is full before you have eaten more than you needed.
- Do not eat mindlessly; this can easily lead to over-eating. This can be avoided by taking time out to eat and not partaking in any other activities simultaneously e.g. watching tv.
- Include more vegetables at each meal so the serving sizes of other foods are reduced. It can be tough getting used to the amount of protein and carbohydrate you are actually meant to be eating – many people consume well over this quantity. More vegetables will help you to fill up and meet you 5 serves a day!
- Avoid eating from large plates. This can increase the amount of food you put on them. Eating from a smaller plate will make the quantity of food look more satisfying and it will likely be more appropriate to your requirements.
More information and resources
An appointment can be made with a dietitian for more information on this topic or advice that is better tailored to you, your situation and your requirements.
Further great information can be found at the following link:
- this = that by dietitian Trudy Williams. See my blog ‘this = that’ for more information.
- Portion Perfection by dietitian Amanda Clark. These books come in a pack with the portion control plate and bowl and go in to detail of their use.
Our dietitians provide individual meal plans
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
Our dietitians provide healthy eating plans for weight control/obesity, malnutrition, diabetes, food intolerances, food allergies, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease, digestive disorders and fussy eaters. We see children and adults and provide customised meal plans based on your needs. If you have diet related questions or if you want healthy eating advice, Contact us today!