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Want to Eat the Right Portion Size? Use Your Hands!

Chalk Drawing of a Sandwich to Hand Ratio

When asked about their eating habits, most people give a balanced response. Could be better but not all bad. Most of us read food labels, shop carefully and consider the foods we're putting on our plates. So, it's daunting to find out our health can be easily derailed by something as simple as portion sizes.

Yes, that's right. The British Nutrition Foundation says a large proportion of people are routinely overeating due to inflated portion sizes. It points the finger at supermarkets for allowing recommended serving sizes to steadily increase over the last decade. And it says a better system is needed for calculating healthy amounts of food. 

According to nutritionists, there's no need for scales or recommended serving sizes.

The most reliable way to measure out a portion is with your hands!

Check out the BNF's advice on healthy portion sizes:

Fruits & Vegetables - 2 palmfuls/1 fist

Proteins (meat, fish, pulses) - 1 palmful

Grains (rice, pasta, bread) - 1 fist

Dairy (cheese, yoghurt) - the length or volume of 1 thumb/2 thumb tips

Fatty Oils & Spreads - 1 thumb tip (above the knuckle)

The best thing about this portion sizing method is its ease of application. Whether you're at home, in the supermarket or browsing your favourite salad bar, you have everything you need - two hands. 

Plus, it doesn't need to change when serving children. Smaller hands get smaller portion sizes. It couldn't be simpler.  

One thing to watch out for, particularly when looking for advice online, is slight variations in the system. For instance, some portion guides recommend measuring vegetables with a fist, not a palm. But the end result is the same.

One fist of vegetables is, roughly, the same amount as two palmfuls. Use your discretion - especially if you're living a very active lifestyle - but remember the largest recommended portion size is two cupped palmfuls. And it's reserved for fruits and veggies.

The rest of your ingredients should rarely (if ever) be larger than a closed fist. Stick to these guidelines and you'll feel healthier, find it easier to manage your weight and have more confidence in the portion sizes you're serving to your children.

Amaven Healthy Schools: log in to your portal to meet our new mascots: the Healthy Heroes! Download Healthy Heroes posters for your classroom and teach kids about the importance of nutrition, physical activity, healthy habits and mindfulness.