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Understanding portion sizes and how to get them right

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Understanding portion sizes is more than just how much you should be putting on your plate. Here we look into how to understand portions sizes better, and you can also grab our free handout on ‘How to build a better plate’.

A guid to understanding portion sizes and to build a better, ore balanced plate

How to build a better plate. © Urban Wellness UK Limited

“How much should I be eating?” is probably one of the most common questions we get asked here at Urban Wellness. Many of our clients are unsure of how much they should be eating, and often serve up the same portion size as their partner/husband/boyfriend at mealtimes.


Whilst understanding portion sizes is a good place to start, it doesn’t answer the full question. Our body has different dietary needs every day - some days we may be more hungry and other days less, depending on factors such as energy, hormones, stress, and the weather.


Many of us have also been brought up with food stories such as “You can’t get down form the table until you have cleared your plate?” or “Don’t waste food! There are starving children in Africa!”. so, from a young age we have been conditioned to not waste food and to always eat everything that is in front of us, regardless of how hungry or how full we are.

So, whilst we can look at how much to put on a plate that is right of us individually, portion sizes do not allow for you to tune into your hunger signals.


Ever been to the cinema and ordered a tub of popcorn which you start to eat the minute the trailers start? You are so engrossed in the trailers, that you mindlessly eat the popcorn so that, by the time the film starts, you look down and notice you have eaten most of the popcorn with no awareness at all! Mindless eating!


This is also what happens when we eat at our desks, watching TV or scrolling social media. We are distracted and the brain and body cannot communicate as efficiently to tell you when you may be satisfied or feeling full. So hence, even if you do get the portions right on your plate, you need to be paying attention to how you feel as well and not just clear the plate because it is there.


Top five tips to getting your portions right


  1. Use our free handout ‘How to build a balance plate’ so that you get the balance of macronutrients right

  2. Put less on the plate than you normally would knowing that you can always come back for more

  3. When you sit down to eat, notice how you feel before you start eating

  4. Eat undistracted – no TV, no social media, no work emails

  5. Chew your food well, and out your knife and fork down between mouthfuls. This gives your body time to sense you are eating, helps ease digestion and allows you to begin to recognise when you may be full.


So, grab our free handout by clicking the link below, and begin paying attention to not just your portion sizes but your hunger levels and feelings of fullness too.

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