How to use your hands as a portion guide
Fruit portion guide
Although most fruits are 0 SmartPoints® and they provide a lot of health benefits – they still contain kilojoules that can impact weight loss if you go a little too fruity on the fruit. So, what should you aim for? The general rule of thumb is two serves of fruit a day, although you can eat more but your weight loss should be your guide. So the next question is: what does a serve or portion of fruit look like? A serve is about 150g or:
- 1 medium – apple, banana, orange or pear
- 2 small – apricots, kiwi fruit or plums
- 1 cup – fresh fruit salad
And what about those fruits that have SmartPoints? You’ll need to take these into consideration when tracking. Here they are along with what portion to aim for:
- Avocado: ¼ medium (31g), 2 SmartPoints
- Olives: 6 green olives, in brine, drained (24g), 2 SmartPoints
- Dried fruit ¼ cup is 6 SmartPoints
Vegetable portion guide
The bottom line is, the more you can fit in, the better, to bulk up meals and use as snacks. Most vegetables are 0 SmartPoints so they’re a great way to bulk out your meals and feel fuller for longer. The Australian dietary guidelines recommend a minimum of five serves a day. A serve is about 75g or:
- ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin
- 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
- ½ medium or 1 small potato or other starchy vegetables like sweet potato, taro or cassava
And what about vegetables that have SmartPoints? You'll need to take these into consideration when you’re tracking. Here they are along with their SmartPoints:
- Parsnips: 1 individual (35g), boiled, 1 SmartPoints
- Potatoes: 1 small (100g), boiled, 2 SmartPoints
- Sweet potato: 100g, boiled, 3 SmartPoints
- Yams: 100g, raw, 3 SmartPoints
- Cassava/yucca/manioc: ½ cup, boiled, 3 SmartPoints
Meat portion guide
In Australia and New Zealand we love our meat, and sometimes too much. What many consider a serving is anywhere from 2-4 times a recommended portion. Just look at what you get in a restaurant – anywhere between 250-400g of steak, when we should be eating closer to 65-80g of cooked meat. A serve of meat should take up about a quarter of your dinner plate. Here’s the lowdown:
- Red meat: aim for 65g cooked (about 90-100g raw) – this is about the size of your palm. Beef rump steak, grilled (65g), 2 SmartPoints.
- Lamb lean fillet, cooked (60g), 2 SmartPoints
- Poultry: aim for 80g cooked (100g raw). Think the size of a computer mouse. Skinless chicken breast, grilled (80g), 0 SmartPoints.
Rice and pasta portion guide
It can be easy to overdo the portions since many dishes make rice or pasta the hero of the meal, instead of vegetables or salad, or lean proteins. It’s easy to end up eating a lot of SmartPoints in one bowl. But you don’t need to avoid these foods – just watch your portion sizes. What should a portion look like?
- Rice: ½ cup, boiled (brown (85g) = 4 SmartPoints, basmati (100g) = 3 SmartPoints)
- Pasta: ½ cup (74g) cooked (white = 3 SmartPoints, wholemeal = 3 SmartPoint
10 tips for getting your portion size right
The more familiar you are with correct portion sizes at home, the easier it is to estimate when you're out.
- Keep measuring cups and spoons handy in the kitchen. Measuring spoons are especially good for measuring out oil, salad dressing and sugar. And measuring cups can be used for grains, milk… or anything, really!
- Whether you're using a tablespoon or cup, it should be levelled off. And the best-measuring spoons and cups are ones that can be squared off for easy levelling.
- Use a smaller plate instead of a larger dinner plate so it may feel like you're having more food.
- Check the actual serving size in the nutrition information panel. When eating packaged foods or drinks, be aware that a package or bottle probably contains more than one serving, and sometimes more than two.
- Shop for single-serving portions of snacks, like mini-bags of popcorn or cereal bars. When this is what you have on hand, you won't mindlessly eat more than you intended to.
- If you do buy bulk-size packages of food, portion out correct serving sizes. Plastic zip-lock bags are a great way to divide bulk foods into single servings.
- When cooking from recipes, be mindful of serving sizes and how many servings a recipe actually makes.
- The WW app makes tracking your portions and staying in your SmartPoints Budget, easy.
- Don’t leave portion sizes to guesswork – that can lead to judging a single serve as being more than 40 per cent bigger than it really is. Keep things accurate by investing in a good set of kitchen scales and leave them on the bench top for easy use, rather than tucking them away in a cupboard.
- Use your hand-y tools. When you’re without your tools, you can still make a good guess using parts of your hand as a visual equivalent. For instance, a fist is about the size of 1 cup. Your palm? It’s about the size of a single serve of meat or poultry.