Paying close attention to portions and serving sizes can help you in your body transformation endeavours. On the other hand, getting it wrong can wreak havoc on your efforts, bringing you no closer to your goals.
It was during a first year food management course that food portioning was introduced to me. I always thought I did a pretty good job at eye-balling a cup, or a tablespoon or an ounce, but it was evident after this class that I did not. My cup looked like 2 cups and my tablespoon more like ¼ cup and you get the point. I was way off. I guess what I’m trying to say is that without establishing a reference point by doing this exercise, I would still be way off in my portioning and likely so would any of my goals for improving my health. That being said, there are definitely some food items that you can afford to overestimate portions with. Foods that are nutrient dense and calorie low are typically the foods that you want to eat in abundance, so it’s likely not a terrible thing that your estimated 2 cups of spinach turned into 3 cups of spinach. What you will find important is understanding common portions for foods such as nuts and cheeses, both of which are hard to measure without a device. These foods, while super healthy, are calorie dense, so usually moderating your intake of dietary fats can be helpful in following a program that is based on your individualized macronutrient ratio.
Nuts and cheeses are often suggested in a gram or ounce serving, but without a food scale how are you to know what an ounce of almonds looks like? And an ounce of cheese? Dating back to my class again – I had no idea. I knew that an ounce was pretty small, but how small? Again, I had no reference point, so how was I to know? Other high fat foods like butters and oils are easier to measure, because it’s likely that you have a teaspoon or a tablespoon in your kitchen drawer that can easily be used to pour or scoop with.
We’ve put together a visual for the different kinds of tree nuts and a visual for cheese, so next time you’re eating these foods, you can have a better understanding of what a portion size actually looks like.
1 ounce =