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For some people who are overweight, the problem is not the type of foods they eat, but the amount. Most of us eat portions far larger than we need, probably because it can be difficult to judge what a correct serving size is, and the definition can vary.

If your portion sizes are too large, you will be taking in more energy than you need, which can make it difficult to control your weight, and consequently your blood pressure and cholesterol (and your blood glucose if you have diabetes). You should use the servings sizes outlined in the table above as a guide for your portions.

Here are some tips to reduce your portion sizes:

  • Serve your food on a smaller plate or bowl – it tricks your mind into thinking you are enjoying a larger portion compared to when it served on larger plates with lots of empty space.
  • Serve yourself a small portion of food then make yourself wait at least 20 minutes after you have finished before you serve yourself a second helping. It takes this long for the message to get through from your stomach to your brain that we have eaten enough to be satisfied.
  • Really concentrate on tasting and chewing each mouthful of food that you eat rather than absent-mindedly shovelling it in while you watch television or read the newspaper – you’re more likely to be satisfied if you’re aware of what you’re eating. It also helps if you sit at the dining table, put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls and talk to your family.

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