There are certain amounts recommended and stipulated for the consumption of food , thus allowing adequate intake and a balanced diet, also controlling the amounts to avoid excesses and the consequences that they bring.

For this reason, in the following article we will delve into what food portions are, what factors determine them and what are the recommended amounts in the main food groups.

What are food portions?

The portions of food are the amounts recommended for consumption, which allow controlling the proportion and size of the food consumed, thus taking care of the nutrients acquired, preventing weight gain and taking care of health.

In this sense, according to the Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (GABAS), the purpose of food portions is to promote a healthy intake expressed in household measures that allow easy identification and application. (1)

To highlight: The application and adaptation of food portions allows an adequate and balanced amount of food, in addition to identifying which are the most appropriate combinations.

What factors determine food portions?

For the determination of food portions, certain factors intervene that influence the process. These factors and their reason will be mentioned and explained below in order to recognize the nature and objective of the food portions:

1. Value and nutritional contribution 

The value, content and nutritional contribution of each food has an important influence on the portion intended and recommended to be ingested. Within the planning, this factor has a great influence in determining the size and quantity, assigning an average that allows a balanced diet with appropriate amounts of energy and nutrients.

2. Food group

Foods are classified into large groups depending on the nature of their origin, their components and their main nutritional contribution.

Note: This classification also has an important influence on the portions, since they are the ones that allow the balance of the intake and the covering of the consumer’s needs. (two)

3. Type of consumer

Age, size, nutritional requirements and many other factors influence the determination of food portions, thus allowing the specific needs of each user to be covered. 

You should know: The main characteristics involved in these factors are age, gender, height and the genetic risks of certain diseases. (3)

4. Regularity in consumption

The recommended amounts are usually based on an average consumption, which if it is below what is regularly stipulated, could allow certain variations in the established portions, which is why it is a factor that influences their determination.

What are the proper portions of food?

The adequate portions of food are pre-established through different studies and evaluations, so we will mention below the regular amounts recommended for intake, thus allowing their knowledge and use:

1. Red and white meat

The recommended servings of meat, whether white meat or red meat , are three to four per day. They are usually referred to the size of the palm of the consumer’s hand, thus allowing the approximate size of the piece to be identified.  

To highlight: This portion usually varies from 100 to 150 grams, taking into consideration that a maximum of 500 grams of meat per week is recommended.

2. Fish

The fish is provided directly by weight, the recommended quantity being between 80 and 100 grams. The reference that is usually used to identify and determine that the portion is correct and adequate, is a check book. 

3. Fruits

The recommended serving of fruit is one cup, which translates to approximately 90 grams. A clenched fist, a baseball, and even whole fruits like apples and oranges can refer to a tennis ball. 

Note: Nuts have a different distribution, with 35 grams being recommended or the equivalent of a golf ball. 

4. Vegetables

The recommendation for fruits and vegetables is quite similar, obtaining at least 400 grams per day with the integration of these into the different meals. It can vary depending on the activity or physical effort that consumers carry out, even influencing age.

5. Legumes

Legumes or grains should be eaten in portions of 60 to 80 grams , obtaining a recommended maximum of between 2 and 4 servings per week, preferably alternated with other types of protein-containing foods. 

6. Whole grains

Whole grains and pastas are referred to as a closed fist serving . It is the recommended amount for each serving, thus allowing the integration of other foods that balance and balance the meal. 

To highlight: You can consume 6 to 8 daily servings, varying the different products of this nature.

7. Dairy

Among dairy products and their derivatives, there is a recommendation of between 2 and 3 daily servings 

These portions are mainly referred to a glass (250 ml or 250 grams) when they are liquid products such as beverages, but when products have a higher fat content such as cheese, the portion can range from 30 grams to a maximum of 100.

8. Fats

Fat should make up at least 30% of the daily intake, mainly due to its contribution and caloric importance. 

You should know: Approximately between 60 and 80 grams of fat are needed per day, allowing the integration of other important macronutrients for the development and proper functioning of the body.

How to control food portions?

For the application of food portions in daily life, there must be certain tools that allow us to regulate the quantities and make the correct distribution of them. Here are several ways to control food portions: 

1. Avoid eating directly from the packaging

The direct consumption of the packages avoids the correct identification of the portions and makes it easier to comply with them. For this reason, it is advisable to distribute the amounts before eating, especially if you buy in large proportions.

2. Use small plates

Usually this tool is applied to trick the eye, in addition to avoiding excesses by limiting portions due to reduced space.

Note: Serving on small plates and keeping dispensaries away are key to beginning adaptation to food portions .

3. Properly divide the plate 

The adequate proportions of food must be reflected in the different dishes, thus allowing a balanced diet and a more timely control of the portions and food eaten.

4. Opt for healthy foods

Food consumption should preferably be natural, healthy and low in fat, allowing the inclusion of a wide variety to cover daily nutritional and calorie needs.

5. Avoid distractions when eating

Eating out of concentration can cause a deliberate consumption of food, so it is recommended to focus attention on food and preferably always serve with the right portions, thus avoiding excesses.

6. Make healthy snacks between meals

Snacks between meals will allow a feeling of satiety that will prevent binge eating , especially during the process of adjusting to the new amount of food eaten. 

Tip: It is recommended that snacks be healthy such as fruits, salads or soups.

Key Findings

  • Food servings are recommended amounts for appropriate dietary intake. 
  • Food portions prevent excessive consumption , therefore prevent overweight and the development of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, among others.
  • The portions vary depending on several factors, the nature of the food, its nutritional contribution, the type of consumer and the frequency with which they are eaten. 
  • Distributing the portions correctly is recommended to avoid overdoing it. You should not eat directly from the packaging and even less without being really focused on the action we are doing.
  • The consumption of snacks between meals, mainly healthy such as fruits or salads , allows the correct adaptation of individuals , thus avoiding binge eating and constant feeling of hunger.

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