Watch your portion sizes

Men tend to think that bigger portions are the norm. Some men think big portions are ‘manly’ but bigger portions can make us gain weight. Studies show that people who were given larger portions tend to eat more compared to those with smaller portions.

There is evidence that serving sizes of foods are getting larger both within and outside the home, and that this may be contributing to the problem of obesity. Recently the FSAI carried out a survey to assess consumers’ perceptions of ‘average’ portion sizes of bread, cereals and potatoes. Responses from over 1,000 individuals in the Republic of Ireland showed that almost 75% chose larger portions as one that ‘best fits with their idea of average’. Among these, a larger proportion was men.

graph comparing men's and women's portion sizes

Proportion of shoppers indicating smaller/larger portion sizes as their perceptions of average.

How to reduce portion sizes? 

  • Use a smaller plate. Same amount of food on a smaller plate gives you the impression of eating more without the extra calories.
  • Make sure at least one third of the food on your plate is made up of vegetables or salad. Pasta or rice should only fill a third of your plate.
  • Never fill your stomach when you eat; always leave some room. You stop being hungry long before you feel full.
  • Check out these helpful tips on figuring out portion sizes of different foods.

1 FSAI News, 2009, Vol 11, Issue 5