Plate size and shape.
When did you last choose a dinner set because of its size?
It’s hard to believe but choosing a plate that’s just 2inches bigger can add at least 200kcal extra to your meal, over a year this could add an extra 10kgs (1½ stone) to your waistline. Oval and square plates which have become increasingly popular are also guilty of helping us pile more onto our plates.
Reverse the trend, look for a 9inch round plate and fill at least one third with vegetables or salad. Any smaller and you’ll find it hard to fit on enough vegetables to provide essential vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Share bags…who’s sharing?
You may have heard of the popcorn experiment. People given bigger boxes of popcorn at the cinema ate more than those given smaller boxes. This phenomenon relates to other bags of snacks as well, such as share bags of crisps and chocolate. Check out the difference in calories, fat and sugar below:
Regular 40g chocolate bar: 200kcal, 20g sugar, 10g fat
Share bag of chocolate buttons: 600kcal, 60g sugar, 33g fat
25g single bag of crisps: 130kcal, 8g fat
Share bag of crisps: 750kcal, 45g fat
Mini versions of cakes and chocolate bars have all the taste and usually only half the amount of fat, sugar and calories. Don’t cut things out, combat the portion size effect by going mini.
It’s a bargain.
We all like a good bargain, when it comes to buying food we are more likely to choose a larger pack size or request larger portions when we eat out because its better value for money. But our soft spot for a deal is driving us to buy bigger and therefore eat more than we otherwise would have.
This begs the question. If we save a few pence buying bigger but then spend £5 per week trying to lose weight, is it really a bargain after all?
This sounds like a very technical term but in reality it’s simple. When we buy an item of food that’s individually packaged such as a pizza, pie or a ready meal, we see that as the portion we should eat even if we pick the larger size. It’s human nature but it can have a huge effect on the portions we eat, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle and eat convenience foods on a regular basis. Fight the portion size effect of packaged food by opting for the regular size.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you are more likely to choose larger portions of foods you perceive to be healthy. Unfortunately big food companies tap into our love of healthier alternatives and some foods aren’t what they seem. Think ‘healthy biscuits’. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Fill up with larger portions of foods naturally low in calories such as fruit and vegetables.
Portion control isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. For more help with healthy portion sizes check out www.spoonit.co.uk for portion sizes made simple.