Episode 63 – Amazing tips to avoid portion distortion
If you’re looking to lose weight or improve your health and fitness then it’s important to be aware of the food portions you consume.
Although portion size is often confused with serving sizes, the two terms are actually quite different. Portion size refers to any amount of food served to you. For example, the portion of chicken given to you at “restaurant A” will be a different portion size to “restaurant B”. Whereas, serving size refers to a standardized amount of food based on its nutritional value (e.g. calories, sodium, sugar) and may be based on scientific research or as per the nutritional package of the food product.
While serving sizes will help you to measure your intake, portion sizes may cause you to consume nutritional amounts that are inappropriate or simply in excess for your needs. For example, in countries like the US and Australia, restaurants often serve huge portions. This may sound like value for money, but can be disadvantageous to your health and fitness goals, particularly due to the high calorie content that usually comes with bigger portions.
Try these tips to avoid portion distortion:
- Ask for a small or entrée-sized meal
Choose the smaller option where possible. Small, entrée, kids-sized and lunch sized are usually more appropriately sized.
- Use an entrée-sized plate
The size of your plate will affect how much you eat and how full you feel. Ask for a smaller plate to eat off. Once you feel full, bring the rest home.
- Eat with others
Meals with others can help you to consume less food. It takes about 20 minutes for your body to register that you’re full. When you enjoy food with others, you’ll be more engaged in conversation instead of focused on your food. You’ll eat slower, and as a result you’ll eat less as well.
There’s 4 other amazing tips to avoid portion distortion below. Read on!
- Check the nutritional information
When shopping for food, check the serving size on the package to know what you’re consuming. The nutrition information can sometimes be written in a way that covers up the “real” amount you may be consuming. Weigh this nutrition information against your actual nutrition habits to see what you’re eating versus what you think you’re eating. You’ll be surprised at how much you’re overeating.
- Don’t super size
Go for the regular or smaller-sized options, and avoid unhealthy sides. A good example is to say “no” to the upsized French fries or jumbo soft drink. They might seem like a “great buy” at the time, but they will break your diet budget.
- Avoid the family-sized value packs
Don’t buy the family value pack or the bigger sized packages – they’ll tempt you to eat more – particularly if it’s only one or two of you at home.
- Store your food strategically
Use individually portion-sized containers or packets when storing your food at home. This will be similar to the effect of using a smaller plate – it’ll help your brain register that you’ve had enough to eat.
Serve yourself right
There you have it! It’s always wise to be conscious of not only what, but also how much you’re consuming. Follow these tips to accelerate your health and fitness results. Go small or entrée-sized meals, use an entrée-sized plate, eat with others, check the nutritional information, don’t super size, avoid family-sized value packs and store your food strategically. Plenty of useful tips to avoid portion distortion!
- Burke, L. Deakin, V (2005) Clinical Sports Nutrition (2nd Ed.) McGraw-Hill
- Chek, P. (2009) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
- Chopra, D. (1995) Boundless Energy: The complete Mind/Body Program for Overcoming Chronic Fatigue. Three Rivers Press
- Duhigg, C. (2012) The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. Random House
- Kausman, R. (2004). If not dieting, then what? Allen & Unwin
- Levitin, D. (2014) The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. Plume Printing
- Mahan, L. Escott-Stump, S. (2004) Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy (11th Ed.) Saunders
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.