How To Measure A Portion

Portion size.

This is probably something we all need to agree to disagree on. It's something you need to consider briefly and then not agonise over. Unless, of course, you have loads of time and love weighing out every gram of food you eat? No? Ok, stick with me then.

In a lot of your cooking, you'll be trying to tick things off you Daily Dozen list. That means you're trying to eat, for example, one of your portions of pulses or one of your portions of wholegrain, and so on.

But what counts as a portion?

Dr Greger gives some good guidance in the Daily Dozen app, suggesting how many grams constitutes one portion of each food type. The trouble is, it's too time-consuming to measure everything you eat. It takes the fun and adventure out of cooking.

What's all this Daily Dozen business?

If you want to cook without restraint, throwing caution to the wind and mixing ingredients with happy abandon, you'll need a quick way to gauge what counts as a portion.

I'd argue that, when it comes to portions, one size does not fit all. We are all different sizes and we are all different amounts of hungry. So, what to do? I have an easy idea...

Use your hand.

Visualise a portion as the amount you can fit into a heaped handful. You don't have to pick up the food (you can if you want) but it can be useful to think about a portion as a being roughly a heaped handful. Children can eat child-sized handful-portions and giants (do you know any giants?!) can eat giant-sized handful-portions. It makes more sense than expecting everyone to require the same quantities of food.

If you're hungry and the portion looks too small; increase. If it looks too much; decrease. Be flexible: why not? The aim to eat a variety of good things. You've got to make it easy for yourself so that cooking does not become a chore.

If measuring out portions is so laborious that it takes the fun out of eating, you're better off approximating so that you can enjoy the adventure. If the result is that you eat a wide variety of good stuff, you can afford not to care about the specific size of each portion.

Relax, enjoy the journey and keep it simple for yourself.

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