Controlling Portion Sizes
~ May 2008 No.219 ~
It has been happening at fast food restaurants and probably in home kitchens as well. Food portions are getting bigger. One hamburger used to be the standard; now two patties on a bun are common. At sit down restaurants it is often difficult to finish the plate - there is just so much food to eat. If you go to a buffet restaurant, forget trying to control your intake! For many reasons, it is getting harder and harder to limit ourselves to recommended amounts of food
It doesn’t help that diet “recommendations” often use different terms to describe what you are supposed to eat. In some cases there are targets based on the amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat to be consumed per day. Elsewhere, the recommendations are made on a per serving or a per item basis. Added to this is the problem of determining how to judge how much you are eating. A piece of fish versus a piece of chicken. How do you compare, or more importantly, how do you control how much you are eating?
The “Zimbabwe hand” method has been developed to help measure and control portion sizes. As the name implies, all you need are your hands. For each meal, you eat portions of fruits and starchy foods (carbohydrates) equal to your two fists. You eat as much (low carbohydrate) vegetables as you can place in two hands. The amount of fat you eat should be no larger that the tip of your thumb. The portion of protein should be the size of your palm and the thickness of your little finger.
Controlling portion sizes is one of the best ways of preventing your meals from becoming too large. Keeping portion sizes in check is one way to mange your calorie intake and therefore your body weight3.
|Health Canada Recommended Number of|
Servings per Day
|Girls and Boys||Female||Male||Female||Male||Female||Male|
July 20 2016