Nutrient-rich foods that provide a balance of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals are key for our wellbeing. Knowing how much to eat of each doesn’t need to be complicated. Nor does it have to be about outdated notions of “portion control” that have resulted in decades of negative relationships with food. At Nourishing Health, we emphasize eating in a way that supports your body to get the most from the food you eat.
That said, there is no one guide that suits all when it comes to how much nutrients we need. Yet, this hand chart offers what to aim for when dishing out a meal because it honours our individual bodies. By eating food groups according to your unique portions, you will be better able to break down food in your digestive tract to support the uptake of essential nutrients to fuel your entire being.
So, how much of what should you eat? Here’s our handy guide to help you reclaim serving sizes that serve you.
Protein provides the essential building blocks for nearly every system in the body to function. It is what makes up our hair, nails, hormones and help maintain our blood sugar levels, improve our ability to think clearly and feel energized.
To ensure you are getting a good dose protein use the measurement on the palm of your hand. If you are using an animal based protein, use one palm full. For plant-based protein, use two palms full.
Some great protein-rich food choices to integrate into your meal plan are: grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, fish, dairy, nuts, seeds, tempeh, beans, and lentils.
When it comes to carbohydrates, think colourful, fermented and vital. This food group provides energy for our body to carry out millions of its micro functions every day.
Two fist fulls of non-starchy vegetables to help ensure you are getting a solid dose of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that offer anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and other excellent health benefits of carbohydrates.
Half a cupped hand full of diverse grains is enough in one meal to provide excellent fibre, minerals and depending on the grain, b vitamins.
Healthy fats are a major fuel source for your body. Fats help you absorb certain vitamins and antioxidants, help give your cells structure, and are essential for proper brain and heart function.
An entire thumb amount of delicious fats like nut-butters, cold pressed plant-based oils or grassfed butter/ghee will help boost your brain power and provide some essentials nutrients for your hormones.
Other excellent sources of diverse fats are avocado, virgin coconut oil, tahini, nuts, seeds, olives and salmon.
And to take your nutrient absorption up a notch further, add a thumb size amount of lacto-fermented foods. These foods increase digestibility and further unlock the nutrient potential of your meal.
Lacto-fermentation is an ancient food preparation technique that relies on the probiotic strain lactobacilli to help preserve foods passed their harvest season. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, “their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine”.
So, go ahead and try adding some miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, or traditional style relishes and chutney as flavour packed condiments to your next meal. Personally, I’m steady adding miso to any soup or stir fry I make.