Do You Eat Too Much?

A bit of an annoying question to be asked…

But think about it … do you really know how much you should eat? I’m not talking calories but actual quantities on your plate. Would you know if there’s too much on your plate?

Unfortunately we associate a full plate with a good meal. And most of us, when presented with a full plate will eat it all (think of all these poor people who have nothing to eat!).

Try This Simple Test

Now, I want you to do a simple test for me next time you eat.

Eat  v e r y   s l o w l y.

Enjoy each mouthful.

Stop when your plate is half empty and ask yourself the question: Am I full?

Chances are, you might be. Then stop eating!

Why Eating Slowly Is Good

Eating slowly will give your stomach a chance to tell your brain you’re full. It takes 10 minutes for that message to go from your stomach to your brain. So, if you gulp your meal down, you will have missed the signal entirely.

Any Other Clues To Healthy Portion Sizes?

The right portion size for you will depend on your age and your physical activity. That’s why listening to your body is paramount.

However, here’s a rough guide to adult portions per day. When we talk about a portion it is roughly a fist size.

You might be shocked as to how little it actually is:

  • starchy food (pasta, potatoes, bread, cereals): 6 to 7 portions a day (a DAY not a meal!)
    • example in a day: 1 bowl of cereals (2 portions), 1 sandwich (2 portions), 2 fists of pasta in the evening and that’s it…
  • meat, fish, nuts, eggs: 2 portions a day
    • example in a day: scambled eggs for breakfast (1), fish for you dinner (1)
  • dairy: 2 to 3 portions a day
    • example in a day: milk in your cereals (1), cheese in a sandwich (1), yogurt (1)
  • fruits and vegetables: 5 portions

Plus a bit of olive oil on your salad because we do need good fats. And that’s it….

Now Take Action!

Don’t just read this and think ‘interesting’… Try it. We have forgotten how little we need to eat. But January is the ideal month to start afresh. With magazines flooded with diet ideas, why not try this simple yet effective and healthy one: cook just what you need, stop eating when you’re full.

And so you don’t feel like you’ve been cheated, replace quantity by quality. Spoil yourself with small amounts of very, very good food and enjoy each mouthful.

Give it a try and let us know how you do (or what you think) in the comments below.


Do You Eat Too Much? — 7 Comments

  1. Great advice. Portion size is often overlooked and with the busy lives we all lead it so easy to just bolt down the food and not eat slowly which typically leads to eating more as your brain has not yet received the signal!

  2. I recently discovered really good cheese. I have never been a cheese eater, now I know why, it was crappy cheese. But I started to buy really nice, aged cheese and will at times just have a simple slice or two with some fruit and cucumber as a snack. It is so good and keeps me from being hungry until dinner.

    Eating a better quality food really does make you want to savor it and eat slower.


    • You should speak to Annie about this. She’s in the S of France (home of great cheeses) and she keeps on going on about Cheddar Cheese. Cheddar!!

      I made a comment somewhere but I don’t know if she even realised I was teasing her!

      Try these: Ossau Iraty, Pie D’Angloys, Comte for starters 😉 they are my favourites at the moment…

      or Cheddar…

      • Alan,

        Should I really eat food I can’t pronounce? LOL. They have to be somewhat mild because I just started this cheese adventure but I am loving it.

        My palate has changed so much in the last few years, it has really been an enjoyable experience to eat. I just tried foie gras (I had to look up how to spell it) in a dish a couple of weeks ago. I can say it made the dish so yummy. Can I describe a fancy dish as “yummy”? LOL. That is the mom in me.

        I will need to write those down so I can find them.


        • They are quite mild. Once you have tried these I will introduce you to some good blue cheeses 😉

          No charge.

          I will be your fancy cheese guru.

          I love foie gras – when I’m in the South of France (too expensive here in the UK) I eat it like pate. I agree it’s not so special in another dish though – better eaten on it’s own on toast.

          It’s also very variable – a good foie gras is very much different to a not so good one. I only know this because my wife is French and we go there a lot, not because I’m a snob or anything. I sound like a food snob in this comment. I’m not. I’ll tell you about my new diet shortly then you’ll believe me…

  3. I agree about eating slowly. Eating too fast can cause too many problems. I read that your plate size has a direct influence on how much you eat. The bigger the plate, the more food you’re likely to eat because you see a bigger plate. I also read a study about eating slowly where it showed another benefit. When you eat slowly, you absorb the nutrients better because your stomach gets the food in smaller pieces.

    • You’re completely right. Chewing is the first step in the digestion process. The food gets broken down by the teeth but also by the enzymes in our saliva. Hence the importance of chewing well. My dad always told me to chew each mouthful 7 times! I have to admit I find it difficult. What I try to do instead is enjoy all the flavours and take my time … check our article on Mindful eating.

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