Dieting is tough—I don’t think anyone would disagree. You may think the salad is the healthiest option on the menu, but if it’s three times the size it should be (seems to be the American restaurant standard), you’ll be sabotaging your diet rather than succeeding at it.
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal and originally reported on by DailyMail, most people rely on their sight to control their portion sizes, which can result in their consumption of an extra 300 calories a day (that’s equivalent to a McDonald’s cheeseburger).
To help people better understand portion control, the makers of UK-based MealKitt—a portion control box developed by a personal trainer—created images (see below) of healthy meals in three different sizes: the smallest shows the ideal portion for someone trying to lose weight, the medium portion is for those looking to maintain their weight and the largest is for those who are trying to gain weight (most likely fitness buffs trying to bulk up).
The surprising (and frankly kind of scary) thing is that the “gain weight” portion is what you see served at many restaurants nowadays, and most people don’t like to leave food on their plates, so they eat it all. If this is the case, try to hold back from eating the whole thing, even if it tastes really good. Ask for a doggie bag and save the other half for lunch the next day.
As DailyMail reports, experts say the following criteria should apply for each of the three categories:
If you’re trying to lose weight…
Your meals should be made up of 45 percent protein, 35 percent fat and 20 percent carbohydrates. Women need to eat 1,400 calories a day and men need to eat 1,900.
If you’re looking to maintain your current weight…
Your meals should be made up of 35 percent protein, 30 percent fat and 40 percent carbohydrates. Women should eat 2,000 calories a day, and men 2,500.
If your goal is to gain weight…
Your meals should be made up of 30 percent protein, 20 percent fat and 50 percent carbohydrates. Women should eat 2,600 calories a day, and men 3,100 a day.
The below images help paint a really clear picture as to what your portions should look like.