When it comes to nutrition, it is important to understand food portions.
Portion control does not only mean limiting calories but also making sure we have enough of the right calories.
Overall caloric load is important but it is also crucial to know how our overall calories break down into protein, fat and carbohydrates.
The good news is that you don’t have to weigh and measure or look up macro counts online to get a good idea of your ratios.
You can use your hand
Yes you can use your hand and you only need one hand ?
Precision Nutrition have a great guide on portion control
We use it ourselves here at Power Fitness all the time.
It lets you simplify portion control by using your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb as measuring tools.
WHY DOES THIS WORKS SO WELL?
It’s portable – Most people bring their hands with them wherever they go.
It’s scalable – Bigger people need more food and tend to have bigger hands, smaller people need less food and tend to have smaller hands.
It’s customizable – Simply add or remove servings depending on your needs such as an extra serving of carbs for your post-workout meal or swap out a serving of carbs for an extra serving of veg or fat for a lower-carb meal.
HOW DOES IT WORKS!
Use your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb to measure your protein, vegetables, carbs, and fats respectively.
Your palm = 1 serving of protein.
Your fist = 1 serving of veg.
Your cupped hand = 1 serving of carbohydrates.
Your thumb = 1 serving of fat.
PROTEIN = 1 PALM-SIZED
At each meal you want to set a goal of 1 or 2 servings of palm-sized protein, based on our size and activity level.
Throughout your day, 5-7 total portions of palm-sized protein is a healthy goal and a fantastic place to start with portion control.
20-40g of protein per meal
Protein Examples: pork, beef, chicken, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, beans/lentils, eggs, powders, bars if you’re stuck.
VEGGIES = 1 FIST-SIZED
When it comes to veggies, we should set a goal of 4-6 fist-sized portions per day.
You can never get enough vegetables and in history no 1 has ever gotten fat from eating too many vegetables even in the garden of Eden Adam & Eve had all the fruit they wanted and didn’t get fat.
Experiment with different types and preparations and stick to what is fresh and in season.
Veggie Examples: mushrooms, squash, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, leafy greens the list goes on
STARCHY CARBS = 1 TO 2 CUPPED HAND
Starchy carbohydrate intake can vary drastically from person to person depending on the individual and their goals, but a great place to start is one or two cupped hands of carbs per meal.
If your goal is fat loss and you work a fairly sedentary job, aim for 1 cupped hand per day.
If you go to the gym 3-5 times a week and follow program, eat 1 cupped hand of starchy carbs at the meal immediately before or after your workout.
If you move around a lot for work and/or train intensely 5+ times a week at the gym, aim for 2 cupped hands of carbs around your workout time and one cupped hand at other meals.
Starchy Carbohydrate Examples: Sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, quinoa
FATS = 1 THUMB
Fats can be the most misunderstood macronutrient.
A healthy goal to make sure you are getting the right amount of fat each day is 1 thumb’s worth of fat at each meal.
Much like with starchy carbohydrates, the scale of fat servings will depend on a handful of factors including size and activity level.
Fat Examples: almonds, coconut oil, cashews, olive oil, guacamole, nut butters
BUILDING A PLATE
Putting this all together, a great goal to aim for is three meals per day where we have 1 palm sized portion of protein,
1-2 fists of veggies,
1 cupped hand of carbs
1 thumb of fats.
Throughout the day try to add in 1-2 snacks of 1 palm sized protein and 1 thumb of fat.
If you are a very active individual, if you work in a physical job, I would recommend adding in 2 cupped hands extra of carbs throughout your day, preferably post-workout. And remember, always choose real food sources and avoid processed foods when possible.
If you can put into practice these simple yet POWERful portion control ideas you will be on your way to building lasting nutrition habits that will set you on the path to reaching your body composition and/or performance goals without ever having to use the food scales.