What is portion control and how can it affect my diet?

Portion control is understanding and knowing the correct measures or serving sizes as per calorie counts and fat content for different foods and drinks. By monitoring your portions and controlling what you are eating, it can help with body weight management as well as ensuring you are eating a healthy and balanced diet.

While portion control isn’t as foolproof as macro counting (personally, we believe macro tracking is key to helping you achieve your goals and we can discuss this in more detail with you if you wish), it is still a great way to educate yourself about the food you are eating and to make sure you don’t overindulge. It allows you to roughly work out how much to consume at times when tracking just isn’t an option, such as while at a social event or out for dinner.

Here is how portion control works:

  • Your palm determines your protein portions

  • Your fist determines your veggie portions

  • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions

  • Your thumb determines your fat portions


To determine your protein intake:
For protein-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a palm-sized serving.

We recommend 2 palm-sized protein portions for men and 1 palm-sized protein portion for women.

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To determine your vegetable intake:

For protein-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a fist-sized serving.

We recommend: 2 fist-sized veg portions for men and 2 fist-sized veg portions for women.


To determine your carbohydrate intake:
For carbohydrate-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a cupped hand sized serving.

We recommend 2 cupped hands sized carb portions for men and 1 cupped hand sized carb portion for women.


To determine your fat intake:
For fat-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a thumb-sized serving.

We recommend: 2 thumb-sized fat portions for men and 1 thumb sized fat portion for women.


A note on body size…
Of course, if you’re a bigger person, you probably have a bigger hand and likewise, if you’re a smaller person... well, you get the idea. Your own hand is a personalised (and portable) measuring device for your food intake. True, some people do have larger or smaller hands for their body size, but on the whole, our hand size correlates closely with our general body size, including muscle, bone – the whole package.

For example, if you were to eat using this method 3-4 times a day, your approximate daily calorie intake would be 2,300-3,000 kcals, making a meal approximately 500-750 kcals.

Portion control and alcohol…
What we try and tell our clients is that having a night out on the booze doesn't have to signal the ruin of all of your hard work. Locking yourself away with just water to get you through a lonely Saturday night, while your friends are out celebrating that big promotion or birthday doesn't have to be you. If you are having the odd pint of beer here and there, just fit it into your macros like you would any snack.

Here are a few alcoholic drinks to show you their calorie and carb content:

  • 1 pint of Heineken lager - 255 Kcals / 20g Carbs

  • 1 single Jack Daniels & coke - 135 Kcal / 20g Carbs

  • 1 single Jack Daniels & diet coke - 97 Kcals / 0g Carbs

  • 1 glass of red wine - 125 Kcals / 4g Carbs

As you would track your food, use your My Fitness Pal to check what you are drinking as you drink it.


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