I am often asked by clients – and in fact many other people I come across as soon as they discover I am a nutritional therapist – ‘how much should I be eating?’
This is never a straightforward question but I’m going to give you some general guidance if this is something you’d like answered too. My experience is what people are actually asking is ‘how much of the different foods stuffs should I be eating’ and my answer is this:
- Have protein at every meal
- Eat as much non-starchy multi-coloured veg as you can
- Essential fats are exactly that. Essential.
- Think carefully about the quality (the type) and the quantity of starchy carbs like potatoes, pasta, bread and rice.
I ask people to consider filling a quarter of their plate with protein, half with non-starchy, multi-coloured veg and the remainder (as a maximum) of starchy carbs. This is a good visual guide. Then think about the fats – throwing a handful of seeds and crushed nuts over most dishes is a good way to make sure you are getting enough.
People are frequently surprised because the advice on the starchy carbs goes against what the diet industry and big slimming clubs have been telling us for years. It is also the exact opposite of the ratios you’ll see if you open up a ready meal – the starchy carbs section is usually very generous as this is typically the cheapest part of the meal to manufacture. Even if you’re a little unsure, trust me on it.
If you need a bit more of a reminder, this Portion Plate is a great idea.
Maybe you’re one of those people who likes to feel they’re having a really good feast at dinner time, especially if they have been trying to curb what they eat during the day.
You’ve probably heard it said that you should eat until you are 80% full, then stop. There is a lot of logic in this because it does take a little while for the stretch receptors in your stomach to pass the message to your brain that you are full.
If you eat slowly, taking care to properly chew every mouthful, your body will thank you for it because you will be digesting your food better, and you may find you eat less than you normally would simply because you’ve given your brain a bit of a chance to catch on to the fact that you no longer need to eat!
There’s usually something else going on, too, and this cunning trick might be what you need if portion control is something you struggle with. Serve yourself a meal on a smaller plate. I’m not suggesting you go from dinner plate to side plate but try swapping from a 12-inch dinner plate to a 9-inch plate. The same serving will look significantly more generous, tricking you into thinking it is actually more food.
Try it, it does work.
Wishing you a happy, healthy week.