Rather than fretting over portion control, diabetics can try ‘eyeballing’, which is visually correlating quantity of food to familiar items
Portion control is of the utmost importance to diabetics and weight watchers. It is imperative that one eatquality food in pertinent portions.
It is the amount of food we eat that ultimately decides our total calories for the day and subsequent hike or dip of blood sugar. Researches indicate that those who eat controlled portions have better glycemic control.
Grams: The most accurate method would be to actually weigh the foods. But then how many would follow this method daily? Quantities given in grams do not work well as no one carries around a weighing balance to check every time one eats. Physical measuring is cumbersome and may not be complied with.
Plate: Tips like fill half your plate with vegetables, one quarter with protein foods and the remaining one quarter with carbs, may not work for all people and plates, since again how much may be filled up on the plate is left to the eater’s discretion.
Cup: Then we have the cup measure. For instance, three-fourth cup of pineapple equals 60 calories. Not too bad in practising. This too has its disabilities since the size of cups tend to vary in each household.
Eyeballing: This is not the most accurate, but possibly the method most used. Nutrition educators from American Diabetic Association have come up with visually correlating quantity of food to common items around us. Thus, when the diet chart says eat 90 grams of meat, the diabetic is also told that this is an equivalent size to that of a deck of cards (playing) or the size of one’s palm. Easily understood and easily complied.
Compiled below are a few examples of servings of food and their portion sizes compared visually:
90 grams of fish is about the size of a cheque book.
30 grams of chicken would be the size of a standard matchbox.
An ounce of cheese is equal to the size of your thumb from tip to base or a domino.
One cup of vegetables should look like the size of a tennis ball.
A 4” diameter pancake or adai, is same as a compact disc.
A cup of cooked rice or a cup of dry ready to eat cereal is a clenched fistful (woman’s).
A slice of bread equals an audio cassette.
One small potato or one idli is the size of the computer mouse.
One serving of fruit is the size of a cricket ball.
Learn to visually assess portions. Because when you eat out, eyeballing appropriate amounts is the only method that can discreetly help you in controlling portions.Eyeballing works well for small amounts of food.
(The writer is a dietician based in Kochi)