Get Handy to Transform Your Eating HabitsOct 17, 2023
Get Handy to Transform Your Eating Habits
A few weeks back I wrote about the concept of Mindful Measurement in regard to food tracking.
In the past, I’ve also posted about another “handy” strategy for making better choices in regard to food portions. I want to give a little more info on this one as it can be helpful for those of you trying the digital food tracking and those who totally dismissed my recommendation on tracking (it’s OK, I get it).
Precision Nutrition has some of the best resources I’ve seen on this strategy so I’ll send you straight to them for the great infographics. For a quick summary on how this works, read on.
A Handy Guide to Portion Control: Get Handy to Transform Your Eating Habits
The hand-size portion control method offers a practical and simple approach to managing your food intake that is tailored to your individual needs.
Palm for Protein. Your palm serves as a reliable measure for protein-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes. The size and thickness of your palm determine the protein portion you need. Protein is essential for muscle repair, immune function, and overall body maintenance.
Thumb for Fats. Healthy fats are important for heart health, brain function, and hormone regulation. Use your thumb as a reference for portioning fats like nuts, seeds, nut butter, avocados, and oils. One thumb-sized portion of these foods provides a balanced dose of healthy fats without overindulging.
Fist for Vegetables. Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, supporting digestion and overall health. A fist-sized portion is a great guideline for vegetables like broccoli, carrots, spinach, and peppers. Load up your plate with a variety of colorful veggies to ensure a well-rounded intake of essential nutrients. It’s hard to overeat these so feel free to go wild and add a few servings in each meal.
1 Cupped Hand for Starchy Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy for your body and brain, but portion control is crucial to avoid overconsumption. A cupped hand can be used to gauge carbohydrate-rich foods such as grains (rice, quinoa, pasta), starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn), and fruits (bananas, apples). Keeping your carbohydrate portions in check can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent energy crashes.
Portion control helps prevent overeating by promoting awareness of serving sizes. When you consume appropriate portions, you align your caloric intake with your body's requirements, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Understanding portion control is equally crucial for those aiming to gain muscle mass. Adequate protein intake supports muscle growth and repair. By consistently including palm-sized portions of protein in your meals, you provide your body with the building blocks it needs to maximize muscle gains. Combined with a well-structured workout routine, proper portioning can expedite your muscle-building journey.
Tips for Using Hand-Size Portions:
Practice Estimation with Real Tools: If you’re totally new to this, consider using a scale and comparing that visual with your hand size to get a better sense of how much food you need. It might take a bit of practice but it will get easier.
Adjust for Your Goals: Keep in mind that your nutritional needs vary based on your goals and your current body size. If you're aiming to lose weight, you might opt for smaller portions, while those seeking muscle gain might go slightly larger on protein and carbohydrates. Work with a coach to learn more about the specific amounts right for you.
Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. While hand-sized portions offer a practical guide, your body's signals should also play a role in determining the right amount of food for you.
Stay Mindful: The hand-sized approach encourages mindful eating. Take your time to savor each bite, chew thoroughly, and enjoy the flavors and textures of your meal. This practice can help prevent overeating and improve digestion.
Simple is Smooth, Smooth is Effective
Conflicting nutrition strategies and rules seem to be everywhere you turn and it can be tempting to want to dive into a “new” or “secret strategy” for fat loss. Resist the allure of complexity. The “handy” portion control method offers a simple yet powerful solution to manage your nutrition better.
Whether you're striving to maintain your body weight, lose fat, gain muscle, or simply improve your overall well-being, this approach empowers you to make informed choices and take control of your nutrition.
Give it a try, even without any other tools or tracking, and (as always) notice what you notice. ;)
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