Portion sizes, what are yours like?
Too much or too little of any type of food can have an affect on your health. Having a balance of all food types is the success to any healthy eating plan. Guidelines change regularly to keep up with new research, compare the old Public Health England plate below to the new guidelines introduced in March 2016 -
As you can see there has been a increase in fruit, veg, and carbohydrates, the exact split is below -
- Fruit and vegetables - 40 %
- Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates - 38%
- Meat, fish, eggs, beans, pules and other proteins - 13%
- Dairy and alternatives - 8%
- Oils and spreads - 1%
Ok, so we can see how our plate should look, but what exactly is a portion of each item?
Fruit and Veg -
The guidelines state at least 5 portions a day, which doesn't mean 5 peas! I have listed below what 1 portion should look like.
1 handful (10-12) grapes/berries
1 small handful/1 tablespoon of dried fruit (raisins/sultanas)
3 heaped tablespoons of peas/carrots/cabbage/broccoli/kale
1 medium tomato/parsnip
A number of fad diets cut these out, however they are an important part of a healthy eating plan and whole grain versions will take longer to digest, so will keep us fuller for longer. I have listed below a guide to what is considered a normal portion -
1 medium slice of toast
3 tablespoons of Porridge oats/breakfast cereal
1 medium jacket potato
2 egg size new potatoes (boiled)
1 fist size of pasta/rice
NHS guidelines state we should be eating less red meat, 1 portions of sustainably sourced oily fish twice a week and increase the amount of beans and pulses we consume. Again below is a guide to what is considered a normal portion, try thinking of these as either the size of your palm or a deck of cards -
A deck of cards - fresh/frozen cooked meat/oily fish
Palm of your hand - white fish or tinned fish
4 tablespoons beans (kidney/butter/black eyed/baked)
4 tablespoons pulses (lentils/chickpeas)
1 tablespoon/handful of nuts
Try and stick to the lower fat varieties such as skimmed milk and reduced fat cheese, or just have a smaller portion.
1 glass/200ml of milk/or dairy alternative
1 standard pot of yogurt
1 matchbox size/30g of cheese
Oils and Spreads -
1 teaspoon or square cm of butter/spread/oil
Try keeping the eatwell guide in your mind when you are planning your meals each week, small changes daily will help create a long term healthy lifestyle and not a fad diet.