Portion sizes have been creeping up over the past twenty years, especially at restaurants and takeaways. Here are some simple tips to help you right-size your food.

Portion sizes have been creeping up over the past twenty years, especially at restaurants and takeaways. Some examples are obvious, like popcorn at the cinema or the supersize options in fast-food restaurants.

The truth is that even the sandwiches we buy at lunch-time and the meals we cook at home are often larger than they need to be. If we pile up our plates with more food than we need, we're sure to pile on the pounds over time. Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan from safefood explains how much food is enough.


9 ways to right-size your food portions

1. Eat slowly

Enjoy your meal. Give your body time to give you the signal that you are satisfied.

2. Forget what your mother said!

You don’t have to clean your plate and always try to have some room in your appetite at the end of a meal.

3. Use a smaller plate

Most people use a large dinner plate, which means usually too much food. To encourage smaller portions, try using a smaller dinner plate instead of a large plate and remember this applies to men, women and children.

4. Fill a third of your dinner plate with vegetables or salad

Try not to fill your plate with potatoes, rice or pasta - these should only make up about one third of the food on your plate. For example, one serving of pasta = 3 dessertspoons/2 tablespoons.

5. Eat a piece of raw fruit before lunch and dinner

This will help you to eat a little less, as well as helping you on your way to having 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables. If you have a small bowl of fat-free vegetable soup before meals, you can achieve the same thing.

6. Never eat until you feel full

You will stop feeling hungry long before you feel full - it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register it is full. ‘Filling’ your stomach means you are eating too much. Always leave some room in your stomach at the end of a meal. If you are forcing yourself to finish, you are eating too much.

7. Choose snacks that are packaged in individual portions

These can stop you from eating large portions from bigger packs.

8. Eat just one large meal every day

If you’re having a large meal at lunch then think of it as your main meal and have a smaller portion in the evening. Likewise, if you know you’re going out for a meal in the evening choose something smaller at lunch. Try to balance your portion sizes throughout the day

9. Know when to miniaturize it! Go for ‘small’ food portions at the cinema or in a fast-food restaurant. These are normally still generous portions.