Portion sizes 101: how much is too much?

In a world where food permeates our daily lives, we've grown to eat more, and more often than our grandparents used to. As we're visually adjusted to bigger portions, many of us have trouble not putting too much food on our ever-larger plates, or we unknowingly do so. That stops here. Read on to find out what the recommended portion sizes actually look like and put an end to perpetual over-eating.


1. Grains and starchy vegetables

When it comes to these, a good handful is more than enough. That provides you with around 200 calories, so the recommended maximum intake is 1–2 portions/day.
As far as grains go, don't go for the processed kind – if possible, have whole grains instead. That includes single foods like bulgur, brown rice, quinoa or popcorn, and product ingredients like whole-wheat or buckwheat flour in bread and pancakes.
Some of the most popular starchy vegetables include corn, peas, beans, lentils and potatoes – and as we especially love those, we should be extra careful not to go overboard with them.

Portion size: a handful
Recommended max intake: 1–2 portions/day

2. Non-starchy vegetables

From broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus to peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and especially leafy greens, the non-starchy veggies have a high nutritional value and low calorie density. Perfect for a filling yet not-too-heavy meal! One portion of these should be the size of a fist (or two when it comes to leafy greens) and provides somewhere around 20–40 calories or even less in the case of leafy greens. 

Portion size: fist size
Recommended intake: at least 4 portions/day

3. Meat, fish, tofu and tempeh

One portion of high-protein foods like white fish and meat (no skin), tofu and tempeh shouldn't exceed the size of your palm. This amount packs around 120–250 calories, so you can have from 2 to 4 portions a day.

Portion size: palm size
Recommended max intake: 2–4 portions/day

4. Seeds, nuts and dried fruit

When eaten in appropriate amounts, seeds, nuts and dried fruit can provide a large percentage of the daily recommended nutrient intake. They're high in calories, though, so use them sparingly. One portion is 1–2 tablespoons, which amounts to around 90–140 calories. When it comes to oils and butters, stick to no more than 1 teaspoon per portion.

Portion size:
Dried fruit, seeds and nuts: 1–2 tablespoons
Oils and butters: 1 teaspoon
Recommended intake: 1–2 portions/day

5. Dairy products

When it comes to dairy, one portion shouldn't exceed the size of a fist or a 2 dl glass. As natural sources of probiotics, kefir or yoghurt can be a beneficial addition to your diet. If you prefer to avoid dairy altogether, don't worry, these can be found in plant-based sources as well.

Portion size: fist size or a 2 dl glass
Recommended intake: 1–2 portions/day

6. Fresh fruit

Rich in several important nutrients, fresh fruit is linked to numerous health benefits. As it's high in fibre and water yet relatively low in calories, it can also be your perfect weight-loss ally. One portion of fresh fruit should be around the size of a fist, which is roughly 80–105 calories. The recommended intake is about 3–5 portions a day, so have at it. 

Portion size: fist size
Recommended intake: 3–5 portions/day

Try to remember those guidelines the next time you're making dinner or eating out. Because once you do, controlling your portions gets much, much simpler. To make it even easier for yourself, try eating from smaller plates – research suggests this simple trick is very effective – and spreading your meals throughout the day. You got this!

7. Hungerblock EXTREME

If you're finding it difficult to adapt to smaller portions, try our natural appetite suppressant HungerBlock EXTREME. It helps regulate and inhibit appetite and thus prevents cravings!

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