Brought to you by Australian Good Health magazine
Oversized portions of everyday foods can derail even the best intentions, Pip Harry discovers.
"Research shows that portion sizes of many foods and beverages nowadays, like jumbo choc-chip muffins, are two to five times larger than when the item first became commercially available," says Weight Watchers nutrition adviser Emma Stirling.
"Once you appreciate that size does matter, there are so many tips and tricks to help rein in your portion sizes, without going hungry. I still use measures and digital scales when cooking new recipes or with new crockery. And I know some people will laugh, but I count out my 20 almonds at each snack break."
Accredited practising dietitian Vanessa Schuldt is also a stickler for sizing up her food.
"One of the biggest blunders many people make is to consume unrealistic portions of food without even realising it," Schuldt says.
"Take a cappuccino as an example a small takeaway is typically 250ml with 490 kilojoules, whereas a grande cappuccino may be as much as 470ml (almost half a litre) with a whopping 920 kilojoules. Many people go for the larger size on offer as they see it as value for money, not giving any thought to the extra unwanted kilojoules they are inheriting as part of the deal."
Recommended serve: Four squares (about 25g). "By choosing four squares over eight squares you'll save 520 kilojoules," Schuldt says. "If you're a daily chocolate eater, that adds up to a whopping saving of 3640 kilojoules a week. It has the benefit of antioxidants, but dark chocolate is considered an extra food and should only be eaten sometimes, in small amounts, so as to not add too many extra unwanted kilojoules to your diet."
Typical serve: Eight squares from a 200g bar.
Tip: "Chocolate is a treat," Stirling says, "but you can spread out treat time with a platter of fresh, succulent strawberries or cherries with your chocolate squares."
Recommended serve: "When you're hungry it's easy to overdo breakfast cereal," Schuldt says. "But you don't need heaps of muesli to enjoy the benefits of satiety and energy. By opting for the smaller, 65g portion of muesli at 995 kilojoules over the bigger 150g serve at 2295 kilojoules, you save a significant 1300 kilojoules per serve." Over a week that equals a saving of 9100 kilojoules or roughly the equivalent of five Big Macs.
Typical serve: 150g (about one and a quarter cups).
Tip: "Bulk up your breakfast to a satisfying serve with fresh fruit and low-fat yoghurt," Stirling suggests.
Wine (dry white)
Recommended serve: 100ml is a standard drink and is a lean 195 kilojoules, compared with 390 kilojoules for a larger serve. That adds up if you're heading back to the bar more than once. "Don't forget, a standard portion will look like a splash in a large wine goblet," Stirling says.
The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends no more than two standard alcoholic drinks per day.
Typical serve: 200ml (two standard drinks).
Tip: "Look for lower-alcohol wines, which are 30 percent lower in kilojoules," Stirling says. "Which means you can have one-third more per serve."
Steak (grilled, lean rump)
Recommended serve: 65g to 100g. "The right portion of red meat should be the same size as your palm," Stirling says. "By choosing 100g (740 kilojoules) over 300g (2220 kilojoules) of steak you are saving a significant 1480 kilojoules, which adds up to 5920 kilojoules a week, if you're tucking into the recommended four serves."
Typical serve: 300g.
Tip: "You should aim for three to four serves of lean red meat each week for essential nutrients," Stirling says. "But you don't need to fill your entire plate with steak … and hold off on the side order of fries!"
For the full story, see the Marchl issue of Australian Good Health. Get a great subscription deal on New Zealand Good Health magazine at magshop.co.nz.