Well back to that hand of yours (mentioned in Part One). We will be using it as a portion control guide. If you are a bigger individual you will have bigger hands and so will be requiring bigger portions.
Understand that most food comes as a combination of macros. For example meat usually comes with fat and grains come with some protein. For simplicity we will group our food as protein, starches, fruit, veggies and fat.
Let’s start with protein. Look down at your palm. A normal serving for a man would be two palm sized portions and for females it would be 1. This includes the thickness of the palm as well. For a lot of people it might end up being about the size of a deck of cards.
For starchy Carbs, most males will do well with at least a fist sized portion or two. Females would do well with one. If you are not an active person or your goal is to go down a clothes size it makes sense to limit these to one if you are a male and half if you are a female. As for your colourful veggies it would be great to aim for the same bulk as you did with starches. You will have to work very hard to go up or down a clothing size feasting on these so go for gold. If you enjoy fruit then eat up. Fruit is full of fibre and nutrients just like veggies. Change the fruits and veggies with the season.
Finally fats. Using your thumb as a guide for things like oils, nuts and seeds you can keep your calories in check as these are super easy to eat in excess. Remembering that fat contains more than double the calories than both carbs and protein so it makes sense to be aware of the amounts that you are consuming. A male should aim for about two thumbs while females would do well with one.
A few points to consider are that I do not mean to say that men require double the food than women. This is a simple starting point depending on your size, activity levels and goals, the size of the portions will differ. These hand sizes are approximates and assume that you eat four times per day. That is to say that a male would on average require 8 palms of protein for the day and a female would require 4 thumbs of fat..
For example using a female who prefers to eat 3 meals per day and wants to maintain her same weight and improve her meals. We can say on average she would need;
– 4 palms of protein,
– 4 fists of starches and veggies
– and 4 thumbs of fat.
She can either spread her “four servings” evenly across her meals or save those portions for the meal when she feels the hungriest. If this woman is very active and requires extra energy to support that activity she could add an extra ½ – 1 fist full of starches at her meals and this would make up that requirement.
Another example would be the male who wants to lose some weight. The average male’s daily intake would equal
– 8 palms of protein,
– 4 fist sized portions of starches,
– 8 fist sized portions of veggies and
– 8 thumbs of fat.
Let’s say he wants to eat 5 times per day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner could be standard sized protein, veggies and fat with 1 fist of starches. That leaves you with 2 smaller sized meals which you have 2 protein, veggies and fat servings and 1 starchy serving left.
If you apply these recommendations you would have taken care of most of what really matters regarding nutrition.