Most weight-loss success stories are the result of cutting portion sizes. It’s a simple fact: if you eat less, you’ll lose excess weight. Use our portion guide to help you along the way.
We think more food is a better bargain
Getting more for your money isn’t good for your waistline or your health. People think they are getting a bargain when they get more food for just a few cents more. What isn’t a bargain are the extra kilojoules and fat that come with these ‘added value’ meals. The World Cancer Research Fund says that the food and drink industry is contributing to obesity by offering consumers ever-larger portion sizes. There is a call for the industry to make it easier to make healthy choices by not promoting ‘super-sized’ portions.
The new joint Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code has user guides that were developed in consultation with government and industry representatives. They help retailers, manufacturers and food officers label food products correctly, listing how much sugar, salt and fat are in food products, which allows the consumer to make an informed – and healthy – choice.
Most weight-loss success stories are the result of cutting portion sizes. It’s a simple fact: if you eat less, you’ll lose excess weight.
Cutting portions down to size
Here’s how you can reduce your portions:
■Wait 10 minutesYour stomach needs about that long to signal to the brain that it’s full, so wait before helping yourself to more mashed potatoes or lasagna. Keep the conver- sation going, tell a joke or, if you’re dining alone, read the newspaper or do the crossword. If you’re truly hungry after the delay, have a second helping of the vegetables or salad.
■Leave the ‘clean plate’ clubMost of us eat everything we’re served no matter how big the portion. A better strategy is to eat a healthy portion (see ‘Perfect portion size guide’, right), then stop. It’s better to waste a little food (or save it for tomorrow) than to overload your body.
■Never eat straight from the bag, box or cartonIf you are having takeaway food, put the right portion on a plate and put the package away, then sit down and enjoy your meal, taking your time over it.
■What to do if you like big portions Overload your plate with vegetables or a salad with a smidgen of dressing, or have a big, steaming bowl of stock-based soup. These water-rich, low-fat foods are low in kilojoules, so a big portion isn’t a problem. Use a smaller plate for your meal. Less space on the plate means automatic portion control.
When ordering food or drinks or buying packaged food at the supermarket, program yourself to choose or order the smallest size of any high-kilojoule items. (The exceptions are salads and vegetables without added fat.) Get the small latte, the half-sized filled baguette instead of the big one, the small muffin instead of the big chocolate chip version. Kilojoules you haven’t bought can’t end up around your waist.
■Choose single-serve Buy or make high- kilojoule foods in individual serving sizes. Instead of family-sized tubs of ice-cream, buy single-serving tubs; make cupcakes instead of a large cake; and buy snack-sized bags of chips, not the party-sized bags.