Monday, 4 February 2013

STEPS 10 - Are your portions in proportion?!

So at this stage in the STEPS program we have made a lot of positive changes to our eating, on top of the good things we were doing even before starting!

But even those of us with the best intentions can find portion control a bit of a problem!  You can be the healthiest of eaters, but if your portions are on the larger side, you may find losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight a bit of a challenge.

For example, this Roast Vegetable and Brown Rice Slice is full of nutrients and definitely a good meal choice.  One serve would probably give you half a cup of rice, a couple of cubes of tofu, 1-2 serves of veg and a sprinkle of cheese.  The recipe serves six.  Not four, and not two!  But I have to tell you, when I first made that slice, I'd be lying if I said we got six serves out of it!!!  It was so moreish that we went back for more!

The problem is, when this becomes a regular occurrence, no matter how healthy your diet is, your body is going to store those excess kilojoules.  

And it certainly doesn't help when we eat ouside the home.  These days its all about 'value for money', 'the bigger the better' and 'upsizing for little money'.  The muffins are huge, the burgers are huge, the drinks are huge, and when eating snacks and/or meals outside of the home becomes a common place  occurrence, this really starts to impact on your balance of kilojoules in vs energy out. 

But this task is not only about reducing portion sizes, it's also about increasing portion sizes!  For example, a great deal of us don't reach the recommended 5 serves of veg each day (as we discussed in an earlier task) so the focus for this task will be different for each of us.  Some will be making an effort to increase veg and meat and proteins, while others may be reducing meat and proteins and 'extras'!

So what is considered a portion and how many portions of each food group should we be eating each day?

Here is a quick run down of the more common foods and their serving sizes - some you may be a little surprised at!  How do your serves stack up???!

1 serve of:

Cooked rice  =  1/2 cup
Cooked pasta  =  1 cup
Bread  =  2 slices
Muesli  =  1/2 cup
Potato  =  1 medium
Vegetables  =  1/2 cup
Salad  =  1 cup
Fruit  =  1 medium piece (ie apple) or 2 small pieces (ie apricots/kiwifruit)
Dried apricots  =  4
Sultanas  =  1.5 tbs
Mince meat  =  1/2 cup
Chicken  =  65-100g  (one breast fillet is normally around double this!)
Fish  =  80-120g (approx 1 standard fillet)
Eggs  =  2 small
Nuts/seeds  =  1/4 cup
Butter/oil  =  1 tbs
Milk  =  1 cup
Yogurt  =  200g (roughly 1 tub)

But how many serves do we need in a day?

For those of us between 19-60 years of age it is recommended each day we eat:

6-12 serves of cereals and grains (pasta/rice/bread etc)
5 serves of vegetables
2 serves of fruit
3 serves dairy
2 serves meat or meat alternatives (eggs/nuts/legumes)
1-3 serves extras (butter/alcohol/chocolate/cake etc)

The updated Australian Dietary Guidelines are due out early this year (2013) which I will go through with you all when they are published.

Check out this page which I thought was a nice visual way of understanding what a serve size is.  You could print it out and post it on your fridge as a reminder of how much is enough!!

Now always keep in mind that the bigger picture is the quality of the food that you are eating.  For example, focus on whole grains, minimally processed foods, a wide varieties of colours when choosing fruits and vegetables, good quality meats, and good quality fats and oils.

OK so lets get to work!  Write down your goals for this task in your journal, and draw a plate like the one below, dividing it up the way your portions would currently look (no cheating!!).

If this task is done correctly, and weight loss or maintenance is your goal, you may find this is the task that really starts to give you results!

As always, check in at Mellymaks Facebook page regularly for hints, tips and recipes!

Thought this was a cute way of showing portions on a plate! 


  1. I'd like to find out more? I'd like to find out more details.

    my blog; best diet plan

  2. New Diet Taps into Revolutionary Plan to Help Dieters Get Rid Of 15 Pounds within Only 21 Days!