Portion control is a common issue faced by many households. Being able to say, “no thanks” to seconds or holding back from picking from kids’ plates isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Why are portions important? For one thing, portions have an impact on our overall health – without noticing, we can add hundreds of calories to our daily intake which can make it hard to maintain weight. Portioning foods can also help us to reduce food wastage. For small families and couples, food waste is usually a problem.
There are days where I make the time to cook up a storm with my groceries; prepping 2-3 different dishes, as well as portioning out and marinating foods to be cooked later that week. There are also days when I don’t have enough time to cook up a fresh meal and turn to frozen leftovers. Sealing ingredients via a vacuum sealing drawer, I can portion out individual portions to cook and store on a ‘per person’ basis. Being able to portion your foods into individual serves can save a lot of time in cooking, and prevent a lot of food from going to waste. Leftovers are also a healthy alternative to grabbing some take away on the way home from a busy day.
So how can we apply portion control on a regular basis? First things first, you need to understand how much you need to eat to be healthy – the www.eatforhealth.com.au website can help you calculate your requirements. As a general rule, aim for half a plate of non-starchy vegetables or salads, a quarter of a plate of lean proteins and the remaining quarter on your plate as quality carbohydrates.
The next part is getting organised – here are a few tips to get you started:
– Marinate/flavour your foods and separate them into individual serves ready to cook, then store them in the freezer (this is often quicker and easier than cooking in bulk).
– If you’re cooking for one or even two, you might want to have containers or storage items on hand to store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.
– Cook only what you need (the portion you need for your body for optimal health).
Using a vacuum sealing drawer is a great way to meal plan and portion foods. Once sealed, freshness is preserved for up to three times longer. With those cold winter days coming up, if you plan to make a large casserole, a soup and maybe a roast, seal the food in bags in appropriate portion sizes, which you can then transfer to a steam oven for the optimal cooking environment.
Georgia Fassoulidis is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Provisional Sports Dietitian. For more information about how you can use nutrition to improve your health or performance, please contact a member of Sport Dietitians Australia (SDA), Australia’s peak professional body and credible source of sport nutrition information www.sportsdietitians.com.au