No matter how healthily you eat, you can still put on weight if you’re eating too much.

Food portion sizes today are far bigger than they were 30 years ago, which means we’re consuming a lot more calories than we realise. In fact, many of us no longer know what makes a normal portion.

Do you know how much you’re really eating? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the portions we are eating are the right serving size for our nutritional needs.  Portion sizes have increased drastically over the years, contributing to the rising obesity rate.

Controlling your portions doesn’t mean you need to eat tiny amounts or measure out precisely the number of peas on your plate. But if we’re eating too much, then we may need to retrain our brains to see a smaller-than-normal portion as satisfying enough

How many calories you need varies depending on your weight, gender and how active you are, as well as on your state of health. It’s also important to recognise that your energy requirements will change; many people find they gain weight when they retire, for example, and this can be because of a change in activity levels compared with when they were working.

Your weight is one of the best guides to whether you’re eating the right number of calories or not. Making changes to balance your diet, such as eating more fruit instead of chocolates, crisps and biscuits, will reduce the amount of calories you consume but you also need to consider the total amount you’re eating.

When cooking at home: Offer the proper “serving” to each member of the family, then put the extra food away. Save leftovers for another meal.

Eat with smaller plates and bowls. You’ll have a smaller portion and still feel satisfied.

Half of your plate should contain green vegetables. Divide the other half between lean protein and whole grains. Filling half of your plate with green vegetables before you serve the rest is one of the easiest methods of portion control.

Aim for two portions of veg on your plate. This helps to cover your plate with low-calorie filling food, leaving less room for higher-calorie ingredients. Use the Healthy meal plate model to help you get the balance right.

Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full. When you eat fast, it’s easy to overeat. Stop eating before you feel full.

Don’t eat while watching TV or a movie or when you’re on the computer. When you snack in front of the television or while doing other activities, you will be distracted enough that you may eat too much. Eat at the table. Focus your attention on your food so you will know when you have had enough to eat.

Snack between meals if desired. If you are hungry between meals, eat a healthy, high-fiber snack such as a piece of fruit, small salad, or bowl of broth-based soup. The snack will fill you up so that you do not eat too much at your next meal. Snacks that pair protein and carbohydrates with fiber will leave you more satisfied. Some examples are having an apple or guava, whole-wheat crackers, or baby carrots with cucumber.

Weigh your food. Use kitchen scales to weigh your ingredients before you cook. This will help you stick to the suggested serving sizes


When dining out avoid appetisers including bread, nuts or olives and split a large salad or main dish with a friend. If you’re having dessert, share it and go for fruit-based options. Order the small size. By eating a small hamburger instead of a large, you will save about 150 calories. A small order of fries will save you about 300 calories, and a small soda will save 150 calories. Never super-size your order. Fill up with lower calorie foods. Order a small salad, fruit cup, or cup of broth-based soup before your entree. It will fill you up so that you eat less of your meal.
Tracking your calories helps you monitor your weight. It helps to know what the appropriate serving size is so you can correctly estimate the calories in your portions, especially if you dine out a lot. Using a food diary can help you pay closer attention to what you’re eating, how much and how often. Putting your food out of easy reach and out of sight will make it harder for you to overeat.

Getting your portions right can be the final push you need to get those last few pounds off. It’s important to remember that the amount that’s right for someone else won’t necessarily be the same for you.


A portion is the amount you choose to eat. A serving is a precise amount of food defined by cups, ounces, grams, or other measurement. You will find serving sizes on food labels

Serving helps you understand how much food is recommended every day from each of the six food groups.  It is assessed using household measures.

Examples, 1 tea cup of cooked rice (200 ml cup) equals 1 serving

1 slice of bread (a loaf cut into 9 equal slices) equals 1 serving.

30 grams of cooked fish equal 1 serving.