One of the main behaviours that is responsible for weight gain in recent times is a lack of portion control. In the last twenty years alone, daily calorie intake has increased by over 400kcal, on average, and part of that is down to the lack of control we have towards our portion sizes.
Not only does a bigger portion help us pack on the pounds, but it can also contribute towards increasing waste; when you cook a larger portion of food and don’t eat all of it, that food normally ends up in the bin.
While we can all be guilty of overloading, it doesn’t have to be this way. Contrary to popular belief, it’s pretty easy to regulate your portion sizes and trick your brain into thinking that your plate is bigger than it is with some simple tips.
Judge portion sizes using your hands
Your hands can work as a very simple measure for several different foods, allowing you to calculate exactly how much you need without having to buy all the measuring cups and scales. Not to mention that using hands is a perfect way to scale portions for bigger and smaller people – children have smaller hands so will portion less, while men often have larger hands and will therefore receive a larger portion.
If we take pasta as an example, you can measure how much you need by simply scooping up an amount that fits comfortably in both hands. If it’s spaghetti, measure it through the hole your fingers make when creating an “OK” gesture with your thumb and forefinger.
For many portions, the consensus seems to be that women should have one of these measurements, while men have two, such as:
- High-protein foods should be measured using the palm – women have one palm-sized serving, while men have two
- Vegetables and salads are measured as a fist – one fist for women and two for men
- High-fat foods are measured using the thumb – one thumb-sized portion for women and two for men
Choose the right snacks
Choosing the right foods to eat is also a crucial way to manage your portion control. More and more often, people are overloading on calories, sugar and fat from snacks which, due to their smaller size, seem to fall under their radar. It’s much better to snack on healthy, filling options, like fruit or nuts, than unhealthy snacks like chocolate or sweets that are more likely to cause a sugar crash, making you snack even more.
Also, when you are choosing snacks, make sure to measure yourself out a portion instead of eating straight from the packet. It’s a lot harder to regulate your portion size when you don’t section it out, and people are more likely to eat more out of the packet when compared to an allotted bowl or plate.
Eat off smaller plates
Have you heard the saying “you eat with your eyes”? That’s truer than you might think and it’s one of the other ways that your portion sizes can get a little out of control. As humans, we love the idea of a full plate – we know that when a plate is full, whatever is on there will fill us up. However, portion issues come from the fact that, if a large plate is used, excess food is added to make sure the plate looks full, even if it is over the portion size.
To combat this, try serving your meals on smaller plates, or plates with a wide rim to reduce the surface that should be covered. Before you know it, you’ll be eating less, and you won’t even realise it.
Finally, if you do overcook a meal, don’t try and eat all of it – save some leftovers for the next day. This is a great way to ensure you’re getting a heartier lunch and, as such, you’ll be feeling fuller and be less likely to snack.
However, don’t serve all the food onto your plate and then save whatever you leave – you’ll be much more likely to eat more if it’s sitting right in front of you. Instead, make sure to portion out the food before you sit down to eat and pop the leftovers into storage containers to save.
Food at The Brewery
At The Brewery, we take our food seriously. Under the masterful eye of our Food Director, Tom Gore, everything we create is perfectly balanced in both flavour and portion size. If you’re planning an event and would like to hold it somewhere were the food is a focal point, take a look at what we can do at The Brewery.
With a team of talented chefs and the ability to create a bespoke menu just for your event, you’ll be able to sit back and know that everything from the flavours to the portion sizes are well taken care of.