Many of us were taught as kids to finish everything on our plate. But when the amount being served is getting bigger and bigger, we tend to eat more and more.

Bigger portions mean more kilojoules. This is an even bigger problem when we eat junk foods, fast food and restaurant meals. These foods pack a lot of sugar, fat and kilojoules into a small volume.

To manage weight, it’s important to keep our portion sizes in check.

Tips to manage portion size

  • Make half your plate vegetables. They’ve got the least kilojoules and help fill you up. Split the rest between wholegrains (like brown rice or pasta) and protein rich foods (like chicken, fish, red meat or beans).
  • Always choose a smaller size when ordering out.
  • Eat slowly and don’t get up for seconds immediately. This will allow time for the message that you are full to get from your tummy to your brain.
  • Practice mindful eating.

Portion plate

Tune into your hunger with mindful eating

A lot of the eating we do is non-hungry eating. We eat when we’re in a rush, bored, stressed, sad or just because there’s food in front of us. Mindful eating is about paying full attention to our food and the way it makes our body feel. It helps us be aware of our internal hunger and fullness signals.

Mindful eating can help us enjoy a more satisfying and healthy relationship with food, and can reduce overeating.

Here's how to get started:

  • Remove distractions - that means turning off the television and putting away your phone.
  • Take a moment to check in and see how hungry you feel using the scale below.
  • Eat like you’re at a fancy restaurant. Take note of the way the food is presented, the enticing aromas, the texture and flavours.

Hunger and fullness scale

Aim to stay in the green zone most of the time. This means starting to eat when you’re at a 3 or 4, and stopping eating when you get to a 6 or 7.

Hunger and fullness scale