Understanding serving and portion sizes is important for several reasons, one of which is certainly your personal satisfaction.
When the recommended values conflict with that, dissatisfaction is guaranteed. That is why today we will deal with that topic in more detail.
What is a portion size and what is a serving size?
Once we clarify the difference between them, and how they relate to you, it will be easier for you to help yourself. 🙂
Serving size refers to a standard amount of food that is based on general recommendations for the average person.
Portion size refers to the amount of food that YOU choose to eat and that is comfortable for you.
For example, on a box of ice cream, you can see that the serving size is 100 g, or half a cup.
However, your serving can be 200g, or rather a whole cup.
What would be smart to use for meal planning?
Let's see! 🙂
GENERAL RECOMMENDATION OR STRICT RULE?
The serving size you see on the back of the package is just a guide. It's there to help you count the calories, macronutrients, vitamins and minerals you get from a particular food and to give you an idea of how much the average person should eat.
Being aware of what a portion looks like can help you to properly distribute your food intake throughout the day. There is absolutely no need, nor should there be a "policeman" who judges how much you put on your plate. The goal is to help you match the amount of food to your needs and goals.
Measuring by cup or spoon can make it a lot easier for you to not get overwhelmed by grams and strict measuring of anything, and still stay within the boundaries of what will make you healthy and satisfied.
Pictured below are some cues you can use to measure portion sizes.
For some people, the goal is portion control because it's a topic they haven't dealt with and they don't have an awareness of how much food they need.
Feeling bloated after a meal can be a good guide to a portion size you're comfortable with.
It is actually the best and most reliable guide because it applies to you and not to general recommendations.
The point is certainly not about strict restriction and obsessive measuring of everything you eat, quite the opposite. When you balance your meals, the result is satisfaction and a reduced chance of overeating and strict restrictions.
Developing awareness is also important. It is not a problem to eat 200g of ice cream when you really feel like eating it and enjoy it, but it is a problem when you eat the same amount so that you are not aware of what you have eaten or why, and afterwards you feel a weight in your stomach.
The point is to know what you are eating, instead of unknowingly stuffing yourself with food.
Of course, in case a certain portion is small for you, you can always take another one!
MONITORING MACRONUTRIENT INTAKE
If you decide to track macronutrients for personal goals, it's very helpful to know what a serving looks like. Here are some examples.
Protein – 85g is equivalent to the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm. A portion of 85g contains 21g of protein.
Fats – A teaspoon is about the size of your thumb. One teaspoon contains 5 g of fat.
Carbohydrates - This already depends on the food itself. For foods like pasta, rice, and cereal, you can use the palm of your hand to measure out about one-half cup. For fruits and vegetables, you can use the size of your fist to get the 1-cup measure.
I say again, the serving recommendation is just a RECOMMENDATION, YOU determine the portion size. 🙂
I hope this mini-guide helps you see how helpful portion sizes can be, rather than burdening and restricting you. 🙂