Posted: Feb 12, 2016
When it comes to healthy eating, how much you eat can be just as important as what you eat. Eating portions that are too big can lead to overeating and weight gain. Follow these tips to manage the munchies while enjoying realistic portions.
Give yourself a hand! Size up your portions with handy estimates.
Wondering if you’re eating too much or too little? Use your hand and try these estimates on for size:
- 1 cup of leafy green veggies or 1 whole piece of fruit = 1 fist
- Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables = ½ fist
- 1 slice of bread or ½ bagel = 1 hand
- 1 cup of milk or ¾ cup of yogurt = 1 fist
- 50 grams of cheese = 2 thumbs
- Serving of chicken = palm of hand
- ¾ cup of pulses (e.g. lentils, black beans, chick peas) = 1 fist
Dietitian Pro Tips
Dietitians can help you manage your portion sizes and eat mindfully. Check out some of our favourite dietitian-designed tips:
- Downsize big portions when eating out: split an entrée, skip appetizers or share dessert.
- Turn off screens during meals so you are less likely to eat mindlessly long after you are satisfied.
- Slow down when you eat. Put your fork down in between bites.
Find a dietitian in your area: www.dietitians.ca/find
Size counts! Package, plate and portion sizes can influence how much you eat.
Larger portions, huge packages and bigger plates and bowls can all cause overeating. Set your table for portion-size success with these tips:
- Use smaller, lunch-sized plates and bowls for meals. You’ll eat less but still feel satisfied.
- Serve food, or have family members serve themselves, from the counter or the stove.
- Keep serving dishes of vegetables on the table. If you’re still hungry, eat second portions of veggies.
- Put large glasses of water on the table. You might even drink more water.
Manage munchies! Keep treat-type snack foods out of sight so you’ll be less likely to nibble.
Studies show, you are more likely to choose available, easily reached foods. Try these tips to make healthy choices easier:
- Keep nourishing snacks (e.g. hardboiled eggs, cut up veggies, yogurt, nuts, whole grain crackers) on an eye-level shelf in the fridge or cupboards so something healthy is the first thing you see.
- Put high-fat, high-sugar treats, such as cookies, into non-transparent containers at the back of the fridge or cupboard so they’re out of sight.
- Clear kitchen counters of all food except for a bowl of fresh fruit for crunchy snacking.
Fuel up! For long-lasting satisfaction, eat fibre- and protein-rich foods.
Finding yourself hungry too soon after eating meals or snacks? You might need to add more fibre- and protein-rich foods to your meals. Fibre helps fill you up and protein helps your energy last longer. Together, they deliver meal and snack satisfaction.
- Fibre up. Choose more vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains (e.g. barley or oatmeal), ground flax, nuts and seeds, and pulses (e.g. lentils, black beans, chickpeas).
- Put protein on your plate. Enjoy small portions of meat, fish, poultry or alternatives (eggs, pulses, tofu) and milk products.