Ok, so there’s no shortage of info on this website about WHAT to eat, I hope you’ve got a pretty good understanding of that by now and if you don’t, have a read through some of the posts under the ‘nutrition’ section.
Whilst addressing food choices in regards to type and quality will be enough for most people to lose weight, and greatly improve their health, sometimes we need to dial things in a little more to make the progress we want.
Calorie or energy intake is still relevant at the end of the day, and whilst this isn’t generally the first thing I would get into when improving a diet, we still need to make sure we’re in the right ballpark.
There’s no getting around the fact that measuring portion sizes and counting calories is a fairly large pain in the a$$, it can be confusing, it is time consuming and for all the trouble you can go to, you can never even be sure how accurate you are.
Food packaging labels can be inconsistent, lab measurements can be inaccurate, food quality can vary, and there’s always an element of human error which can mean your calorie or kilojoule estimates can a fair bit off the mark.
Is there a better, easier way?
Well yes I think there is.
Now I actually didn’t think of this concept, I got the idea from Dr John Berardi, who is one of, if not the best sports nutritionists in the world (in my opinion), i’ve actually done his nutrition certification.
Here’s a simple and easy way to measure your portion sizes:
– Your palm size determines your protein portions.
– Your fist size determines your veggie portions.
– Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
– Your thumb determines your fat portions.
To determine your protein intake, which included foods like lamb, chicken, beef, turkey, fish, seafood, eggs etc (lentils if you’re a vegetarian)
(choose hormone free, organic, free range whenever possible)
Males go with 2 palm-sized portions per meal
my dreams of becoming a hand model have finally been realised…
To determine your veggie intake, which includes foods like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, carrots, salad etc.
Females go with 1 fist sized portion per meal
If you’re having some extra carbs with your meal, like fruits, rice, potato, sweet potato, as well as other grains and starches.
Females go with 1 cupped hand size portion
Males go with 2 cupped hand sized portions
If you’re including some extra fats in your meal, like oils, nuts, nut butters, etc
Females go with 1 thumb sized portion of extra fats (if you’re including them)
Males go with 2 thumb sized portions of extra fats (if you’re including them)
So assuming you’ll be eating 3-4 meals per day and want to lose body fat or stay lean, using the above guidelines, your typical day would look like this.
– 1 palm of good quality, high protein food with each meal
– 1 fist of veggies every meal
– 1 cupped hand of carbohydrate dense foods (optional)
– 1 thumb of healthy fats (optional)
– 2 palm sizes of good quality, high protein food with each meal
– 2 fists of veggies every meal
– 2 cupped hand of carbohydrate dense foods (optional)
– 2 thumbs of healthy fats (optional)
To answer any obvious queries from the people who just can’t help themselves, yes people’s hands do differ in size. For the most part though, your hand size will correlate pretty nicely with your overall body size.
Keep in mind, whether you’re counting calories, using measuring cups, or using your hand to measure portions, this only serves as a starting point to YOUR eating plan based on your unique physiological make-up. Use this as a guideline and tweak from there based on the results you’re getting.
For example if you find you’re losing weight quite easily and have issues with hunger and satiety, you may add an extra cup of carbs to a meal and see if that helps.
If you want to gain weight and put on some muscle then you might find you need to add an extra palm of protein or cup of carbs to one or more of your meals.
If you want to lose weight and things aren’t budging or you’ve started to slow down, then you might remove a hand-sized cup of carbs or fats to one or more of your meals.
So there you go, hope this has helped you get your head around portion sizes. Now you’ve got a great place to start, a simple and easy method to measure your food intake and a way to ensure your meal sizes are consistent.
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