Say goodbye to weekend cheeseboards and gooey cheese pizzas – at least if you want to be sticking to a healthy amount of cheese everyday.
Obesity continues to remain in the headlines and now experts have suggested in order to lower growing rates of obesity we should be looking not just at what people are eating but also how much.
A new survey by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) has revealed that many in the UK don’t know what constitutes a healthy portion size. And it wouldn’t surprise us if that’s the case in most developed countries.
So nutrition scientists have devised the ‘Find Your Balance’ guide, which provides new methods of measuring out food portions – using your hands, thumbs and fists rather than weighing scales.
And sadly it means we’ve been eating way too much of pretty much everything, including cheese.
Cheese lovers might be perplexed because according to the BNF survey, the right amount of cheese we should be eating is a mere two thumbs worth. That’s like a few teaspoons!
When it comes to eating pasta, on average we eat around 230g worth when cooked, with 10 per cent of the people questioned eating 350g.
But their recommendation is just 180g, which according to the guide is two hands cupped together.
A finger and thumb, meanwhile, is the right amount of spaghetti we should be throwing in the pan.
The suggested single portion of a grilled chicken breast, a cooked salmon fillet or a cooked steak is about half the size of your hand, while a baked potato should be “about the size of your fist”.
Snacks aren’t entirely banned from the new guidance either, but they need to be kept quite small at around 100 to 150 calories, and we shouldn’t be consuming them too frequently.
Examples included a small chocolate biscuit bar, a small multipack bag of chips, four small squares of chocolate (20g) or a mini muffin, 20g of unsalted nuts and seeds or the amount that fits into the palm of the hand, which will be between 113 and 137 calories.
Experts believe better portion control could lead to people being healthier, therefore taking pressure off the health care system.
Following an analysis of portion sizes around the world, guidance was developed on how often to eat foods from the main food groups offering advice on sensible portion sizes for healthy adults, based on an average daily allowance of 2,000 calories.
Bridget Benelam, nutrition communications manager at the BNF, said portion size isn’t something people usually give a lot of thought to.
“The amount we put on our plate typically depends on the portion sizes we are used to consuming, how hungry we feel and how much is offered as a helping at a restaurant table or in a packet/ready meal,” she said.
“Nonetheless, in order to maintain a healthy weight we should ensure that our diets contain the right balance of foods, in sensible amounts.
“This isn’t just about eating less; it’s also about eating differently.”
With reporting by Marie Claire Dorking.
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