The Ultimate Portion Guide
Learning how to judge portions can be a key part of your health journey. Over consuming calories will obviously lead to weight gain and that can bring with it other health problems. But what is the best way to manage this?
You can try cutting out a certain food that you regularly over-eat on, you can put less on your plate, or use smaller plates. But none of these methods are especially measurable and measurability creates accountability which is really important when trying to put a measure of control on something.
It's necessary to have a decent understanding of the composition of foods to employ this method. For example, if you think that potatoes are a protein food then this isn’t going to work so educate yourself.
The hand sized template
Your hands will likely be pretty well proportionate to the rest of your body and using your hands as a serving guide can be a really useful portion guide.
Protein is one of the most important macronutrients for fat loss and for exercise adaptations. Use your hand to judge a portion of protein dense food. For instance, a chicken breast that fits on the palm and fingers of your hand would yield 30-45 g of protein (depending on the size of your hand).
Aim for one palm of protein food per meal.
The majority of your carbs should come from root vegetables, wholegrains and fruit. These provide you with fuel for activity and fibre for good digestion.
A serving of carbohydrate dense food should be about the size of your fist, if you do any intense exercise you can go with two fists.
Fats are very energy dense so you don’t need a lot of these. It’s also important to know that some cuts of meat or oily fish are quite high in fat so you need to take that into account.
Use your thumb to measure this. 1 thumb of oil (this includes the oil you cook with) or 2 thumbs of solid fats like nuts.
Eating lots of different coloured veg is important for your health but it also adds flavour and variety to your diet.
I encourage a LOT of vegetables in people’s diet so to judge this cup your hands together and fill that space with a good mixture of veggies to put on your plate.
Each meal should be divided up as follows:
- 1 palm (with fingers) of protein food
- 1-2 fists of carb dense foods
- 1-2 thumbs of fats
(if you have 2 fists of carbs have no more than 1 thumb of fats, if you have no carbs have an extra thumb of fats)
- 2 cupped hands of veggies
- On heavy exercise days add in a couple of extra portions of carbs and/or fats
Construct your three main meals using this template but be prepared to adapt. Moniter your weight and if you are losing too much weight you will need to slightly increase your portion sizes or add in an extra meal. If you are not losing weight you will need to slightly decrease your portions.
How simple is that? This is a really effortless way of constructing balanced meals to support your journey.