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Published: 7th November 2019
We all know that food packaging is labelled with the ‘recommended serving size’ but how often do you actually pay attention to this?
Portion control is a massive part of a healthy diet and the best way to ensure you’re counting the nutritional value of your food correctly and eating the right amount is to follow the serving size on the package.
When we actually stop and review the recommended serving size of our food, a lot of us end up surprised about how much we have actually been over eating but today we’re going to help you get back on track by sharing the ideal serving sizes for some go-to foods!
Most of us guess when it comes to pasta but this is probably one of the foods most of us over-portion every time by simply free pouring it into the pan!
A supermarket own brand pasta recommends 75g per person which would contain around 123 calories but even going over by just 25g and serving yourself 100g could add another 53 calories onto your dinner, so it is definitely worth getting the scales out.
Another ingredient we all tend to free pour into the pan and often serve far too much of is rice and as with pasta, the recommended serving size is about 75g.
75g of cooked white rice contains around 95 calories, opposed to 100g which contains 127, so portioning correctly really does make all the difference.
And as for the microwavable rice pouches that a lot of us rely on for convenience, these are actually designed to serve 2 people, so half the pouch is the serving for one, not the whole thing which is something a lot of people don’t realise!
Despite the fact that most of us use two slices for toast or a sandwich, the recommended serving sizes for most breads is actually just the one slice!
A supermarket own brand bread contains 96 calories per slice which is also per recommended serving, so by making a standard sandwich with two pieces, you’re actually eating a double portion!
TOP TIP: Make your sandwich with one slice of bread cut in half and bulk your plate out with salad or veggie sticks!
Although chicken is a great source of protein and very good for us, there are still recommended serving sizes that we should follow.
One chicken breast, weighing an average of about 140 – 150g is a recommended serving size, meaning that same weight in any kind of chicken, be it mini fillets, thighs or roasted chicken is about the correct portion size.
Bacon is a food we all tend to ignore the serving sizes for and just pile up our sandwich but we should pay slightly more attention, as the calories, fat and salt can soon add up.
First tip is to opt for bacon medallions instead as these have the fat cut off and the recommended serving size is two slices, containing around 108 calories if you go for the unsmoked variety.
Sausages aren’t always the healthiest form of protein as they are a processed meat, often bound with additives and fillers, so they’re one of the higher calorie forms of meat you can choose.
Richmond Sausages are one of the classic brands and the nutritional value on the packet is based on one sausage, meaning it is only recommended to have one at a time.
As for chipolatas, as they are smaller, the recommended serving size is two sausages.
Although they’re some of the healthiest foods in our diets, fruit and vegetables do still come with recommended serving sizes, particularly fruit due to the sugar content!
According to BUPA and most food packaging, one portion of any fresh or frozen fruit or vegetable is 80g and for dried fruit, the portion size is 30g.
For fruit juices, one serving is 150ml as the sugar content can be so high.
It is recommended we eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, so that would mean 5 portions of the above sizes.
We all know the serving sizes for our treats are usually much smaller than what we actually allow ourselves but these are also the high calorie, low energy foods that we need to eat in moderation.
For most biscuits, the recommended serving size is just one biscuit, despite the fact most of us serve them out in at least pairs, if not threes!
Although they’re called ‘share bags’, a lot of us will enjoy one of these 100g+ bags to ourselves, despite the fact that the average serving size is much smaller.
For Cadbury’s Giant Chocolate Buttons, the recommended serving size is just 25g while for minstrels, the packet recommends enjoying no more than one third of the bag (39.9g) at one time.
As for chocolate bars, giant bars of Dairy Milk are to be enjoyed just 30g at a time and if you buy a Twirl, the recommended serving size for one sitting is just one finger of chocolate, not both.
Individual packet of crisps do the portioning for you but if you prefer to buy a share bag and serve yourself then you may accidentally be having a few too many at once.
Doritos are recommended to be served in 30g portions, as our Kettle Chips and Walkers’ Sensations crisps.
When it comes to spreads such as Nutella, most of us wouldn’t dream of weighing it first but the recommended serving size may be much smaller than what you usually put on your toast.
The recommended serving size for Nutella is just 15g and that contains 80 calories. Cadbury’s chocolate spread also has a recommended serving size of 15g, as does the supermarket own brand chocolate hazelnut spread, so this is definitely one to start weighing out.
So, if you think you’re eating well but not losing the weight you deserve to be, it may all be in the portion size! A set of kitchen scales are a worthwhile purchase when trying to lose weight and always reading the packets to help you make the best choices is key to success!