Regular, small meals are the best way to give your body the nutrients it needs. Large, heavy meals can overload your digestive system and liver, preventing your natural detoxification processes from working optimally.
Portion size is one of the single biggest contributors to sabotaging a healthy eating regime faster than you can say deep-fried. One of the keys to a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle is moderation – everything in moderation. And when it comes to portions size, this rule is no exception – small portions are the best way to keep your body going all day.
People often complain that they are following a healthy eating plan and doing regular exercise, drinking enough water and that kind of thing, but still are unable to lose any weight. But take a look at the astounding helpings; therein lies the key to any weight loss or healthy weight goals: the portion sizes.
Many people make the mistake of weighing their food with their eyes, and what they don’t realize is that they are weighing with their appetite, emotions, and mood at the same time. Angry people don’t tend to dish up extra helpings of salad – they head for the mashed potatoes and a second helping of dessert.
So it is important – most especially if you are new to portion control – to weigh and measure the food you are putting on your plate before you eat it so that you can make sure that you are sticking to small portion sizes.
If you are at a friend’s for dinner, whipping your measuring spoons and your digital scale out of your purse may not go down too well, so there are ways to get around it if it is not possible to weigh your food.
Now you know **why small portions are better for your health, **here are some quick portion tips for sizing your food items when it is not possible to measure.
Any serving of meat is one for women, the same size just two servings for men.
At a quick glance, your meat serving should be the size of roughly a pack of cards – for one serving or portion. Resist the urge to dish up a crispy piece of the skin off the chicken and always go for the white meat. Remove any excess fat from the meat and pick a piece that is as lean as possible. Excellent choices are lean steak, free-range skinless chicken breast and fish.
Any serving of carbs is one for women and one to one and a half for men.
Whether it is rice, potatoes, pasta, couscous, mashed potatoes, a baked potato or quinoa, the portion size should be roughly the size of your closed fist. Choose a baked potato in its jacket that is a medium size, or four small baby potatoes as one serving.
There is no restriction on portion size for fresh, raw, grilled or baked vegetables; as long as they are not covered in salad dressing, cheese sauce, olive oil, feta cheese or any other topping. Be careful of starchy veggies like pumpkin, butternut, and potatoes – they should fall under the banner of carbs. Sweet potatoes can fall under vegetables as they are a low GI choice.
Fruit servings are always for both men and women - a medium-sized portion. They are extremely high in natural sugar, so should not be consumed in too many portions on a daily basis as again, although you may be following a healthy diet, eating six bananas a day is going to sabotage all of those efforts.
One small banana has enough raw glucose energy to provide your body with the fuel it needs to work hard during an hour-long hardcore cardio session. So if you are eating a big portion of bananas every day you may need to re-look at your fruit intake.
Eating regular and small portions helps to keep your metabolism fired up and ready to go. If you have ever lit a log fire, you will know that if you feed it three pieces of wood every 30 minutes or so, you will have a steady flow of heat and flame right throughout the time you require the fire to be lit.
If you build a massive bonfire, light it up, generate enough heat to give everybody a sunburn and then only feed the fire four hours later, you are going to have to rebuild the fire from scratch again. And you can be sure that the first hour of your bonfire was extremely hot, the last hour you would need a blanket to keep warm as well.
Your metabolism is very much the same. You need to be providing your body with fuel in about five-six meal or snack intervals a day. This way your blood sugar won’t spike, you won’t feel hungry, you won’t have mood swings and you definitely won’t be suffering from that awful three pm fatigue dip where all you want to do is fall asleep on your desk.
Choosing to eat small portions means that you will never feel stuffed and sleepy like you do after a large meal and that your metabolism can keep on firing on an even keel all throughout the day. Snacking and picking isn’t quite the same as eating small portions on a regular basis – you can also confuse your body that way.
Always eat a good breakfast; the small portions should be packed with protein to get you through to your next mid-morning meal. A smoothie is a great way to get everything your body needs without overloading your system and starting the day with an overwhelmed digestive and lymphatic system. Aim again to refuel mid-morning, lunchtime, mid-afternoon, dinner time and two hours after dinner with a protein shake or milk and a few nuts.
When you think about food as fuel, you will find it much easier to keep your small portions going on a regular basis – and will find in the long run that you are much happier for the physical and physiological changes.