What is a good portion size anyway?!


This is a question that has always had me a little stumped I have to say. I know that on each packet it says ‘serving size’ but who is that really for?  Surely if 2 biscuits are a serving for an adult they shouldn’t be a serving for a child. Should they?  Or what about the difference between someone who is in an office job vs someone who is active?  I’m a true believer of listening tour bodies yet I still have questions about my ability to understand what my healthy portion size should be. Should we be calorie counting, eating till we are 80 % full, eating more small meals or 3 bigger meals?

It always comes back to taunt me.  Recently even more so after my kids and I have been looking at healthy eating and found some great photos on the web.  These photos, from two different sites – what the world eats and what school lunches look like , showed school lunches from around the world and families shopping for a week.  What shocked me was how different the amounts of food were.  It is amazing just how little some families have for the week and just how much others have also the kind of food that they are eating.  None of the families appear in ill health externally yet I wonder just how their food is treating them internally – both in quality and quantity. I wish I was able to be  a fly on the wall to see how they allocated the food and how the live.


I know that I can do calculations to work out what my calorie intake should be each day and then eat accordingly.  The trouble with this for me is that I want my kids to see eating and listening to your body as a normal and natural thing to do; me counting calories each day for every meal doesn’t quite seem to fit this ideal 😉  I have also found lots of ‘diet plans’ which give you a week worth of recipes all calorie counted out however they very rarely account of those of us not eating meat, gluten, dairy, sugar etc.

When I became sugar free I was hoping that my appetite would guide me to the correct portion sizes, somehow it doesn’t really feel that it is as yet.  I get the difference between my cravings and my real hunger, sometimes though my real hunger seems to have me eating more food than others or than I would have thought I needed 😉  Maybe it is too early for my appetite bits to be back to normal after years of being massacred or maybe I have just conditioned myself and my stomach to my ‘visual’ portion amount. 

Food for thought and I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this.





6 thoughts on “What is a good portion size anyway?!

  1. The Japanese say that you should eat until 80% full. I have no idea what 80% full is. I suspect the years of being extolled by my well-meaning parents to ‘eat all your dinner’ have put paid to me doing so. I’ve found that eating slow helps me to feel fuller but I still have to run a lot to keep the old belly away.

    I mean I could give up beer but then how would I watch the rugby?

    • Yeah, no beer would definitely equal no rugby watching 😉 I too struggle to know what 80% full is as by the time I think I’m getting full I’m probably 95% of the way there! Maybe it is just eating 80% of what is dished up and investing the rest as food for the chickens – now wouldn’t that drive the parents mental?! –

  2. threehourdiet

    For years I didn’t count calories- I didn’t want to keep track- and couldn’t keep track on busy days- but now I’m on a eat every 3 hours plan, and stick to 200 calories or less- (that way I don’t have to keep track all day of my calories and add them up as I go- I just keep every 3 hour eating time to 200 calories- This keeps me from over eating- If I get hungry between meals, I just eat green pepper slices, celery, or cucumbers etc. I just don’t trust myself any more- Calorie counting keeps me on target!

    • I read your blog a while ago about your 3 hour plan with interest and it looks like it works really well for you. So good to find the thing that works for the individual that we are 😉 How do you plan out your 200 cals each meal? Do you plan ahead or have set foods.

      • threehourdiet

        I’ve come to mentally know the calories in foods, so when I can, I plan- but when life is hectic, I just make sure I stay under 200 with whatever is available- sometimes it is a diet coke and a hamberger (250 calories- so I remove one of the buns) and add some veggies- green peppers etc- every day it is different- flexible- But breakfast is usually a couple of eggs, or leftover salad etc…It changes by day and mood- but so simple! One of the keys is that some days I’m going to be hungry and others not so hungry- so on the hungry days, I make sure I have low glycemic veggies handy… to fill up on! Or a salad- with diet dressing- no cheese or protein if it is a ‘between’ 3 hour time… It works.

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