On a diet? Why eating less is harder than you think!

• Portions are bigger as plates have increased in size
• You should have 120g of fish and 80g of vegetables for a portion
• For a biscuit it’s just one – and for chocolate only 30g is a portion

On a diet? Simply being advised to ‘eat less’ is, in practice, much harder to do than it sounds.

There’s no official guideline on portion sizes in the UK and there are no rules for food manufacturers to tell customers how much counts as a serving.

So whilst you may be cutting down the amount you eat, it still may not be enough.

Nutritionist Emma Brown says that broadly one portion counts as 120g of steak, one biscuit and just half a scone:

“Portion size is the one thing that catches many people out when they believe they’re eating a healthy diet. Last year, a UK study found that simply having bigger helpings or eating off a larger plate led to people eating more.

“Portion sizes have steadily increased over the years. Plate sizes have also increased and because we rely on visual clues to tell us how much to eat, we find it difficult to judge how much food there is on a plate.

“Our brain tricks us into thinking there is more – or less – depending on the plate size. The habit of using a visual clue for eating, rather than being conscious of satiety – how full you feel – is a tough one to break.”

Emma explains how much of each food group you should really be eating each day.

“The portion size for biscuits is 14g – which works out at just one biscuit if your snack of choice is a Bourbon. Although it might seem surprising, there are 69 calories in just that one biscuit. But of course they can be enjoyed occasionally, and it’s better to enjoy in moderation rather than pigging out on a whole packet in one go.

“There’s no need to give up these foods; denying yourself a treat will make you miserable – so instead of two biscuits in one sitting, have just one.

“Everything is fine in moderation, but take note of the calories and try to get used to having these foods as ‘treats’ to be savoured and appreciated, and not eaten too frequently.”

And surprisingly, if you fancy a scone for one portion you should slice it in half, with this 50g portion still containing 149 calories and 3g of fat.

If you’re still struggling to get an idea of what size you should be eating, Emma advises one trick which you might not have considered – simply use a smaller plate.

Added Emma: “Vintage plates are popular today and are usually a lot smaller. It’s easier to do that at home, but it can be more difficult when eating out. Just try to remember that filling your plate in a restaurant might seem like good value – but your waistline will pay for it.”



Salmon fillet 125g
Raw Sirloin steak 120g
Uncooked pasta 70g
Potatoes 1 medium (235g)
Raw carrots 80g
Blueberries 80g
Crisps 30g
Chocolate 30g
Cheese 30g
Biscuit 14g
Scone 50g

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