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Perfect Portions

by: Run the Juice group

Our Stories

Perfect Portions

by: Run the Juice group

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Portioning your food can make a big difference when aiming to prevent food waste. It can be very easy to take a guess at how much you will need to feed yourself or your family. I don’t know about you, but rice and pasta are the main culprits in my house. It’s easily done, these food look so small before they are cooked which means we often make more than we need.

So, let’s talk about how to portion and serve food so you don’t end up with unwanted leftovers and perfectly good food going in the bin.

Buying food

Things to remember:

  • There is no point in buying a larger value pack if it’s not all going to be eaten- for example, there is a pie that weighs 680g, serves 4 people and costs £5 and there is a pie that weighs 900g, serves 6 people and is on offer for £5. Although it seems more cost-effective to buy the larger pie, it wouldn’t make sense to buy it if you are only feedings a family of four and you won’t eat the last two portions (if you know you’ll eat the remaining two slices as leftovers then go right ahead).
  • There is no point in buying larger packs of something with a short shelf life- for example, it wouldn’t be worth buying a big punnet of strawberries with the intention of it lasting the week when strawberries only last 2-3 days. Instead, buy a smaller pack for the first few days of the week and once these are used, then buy another small pack for the rest of the week.

For more tips check out our meal planning blog.

Portioning- before cooking

A portion is the amount of food that you choose to eat for a snack or a meal. We aren’t too worried about the size of the portion, what we are worried about is whether excess food is being made and wasted.

Some food packaging recommends the portions per person in weight (usually grams). Unfortunately, most people don’t weigh out their food. If you do weigh your staples then please carry on, it’s the best way to get perfect portions every time.

If you don’t want to get your weighing scale out every time you cook, we suggest that you:

  1. Identify your staples- rice, pasta, lentils, split peas, cous cous etc.
  2. Weigh each one in a measuring utensil of your choosing, a cup, or a bowl etc., according to the portion weight suggested on the packet.
  3. Where the staple fills the utensil, make a mark with food safe permanent pen on the measuring utensil and label the mark with the staple you have weighed and how many people it serves.

This will allow you to make your own personal perfect portioning utensil.

Alternatively, keep a handy kitchen notebook with notes on how full the measuring utensil is for each staple.

If you don’t have weighing scales, test out some measuring utensils to help you with your staples. Try to find a cup or mug that when filled to an easy point, e.g., halfway or to the top, makes the perfect amount for yourself or your family.

Useful kitchen equipment for perfect portions:

  • Weighing scales
  • Cups (the American metric system)
  • Rice scoop/cup
  • Spaghetti measure

Serving- after cooking/preparing

If you’re serving food for your family, it can be easy to put food on their plate without knowing how hungry they are. And while there’s no harm in your family going for seconds, what we don’t want is lots of excess food on their plates going into the bin.

There are multiple ways you could tackle this:

  1. Why not ask your family members how hungry they are and serve a portion according to their answer. Save any leftovers for another day.
  2. Most of us would, reasonably, not want to save food scraped from someone’s plate, even a family member’s plate. Why not serve food in bowls at the centre of the table which allows people to take what they want while keeping the food remaining in the centre salvageable for leftovers.
  3. Bowl and plate sizes are important. Using adult plates for children can lead to portions that are too big. Furthermore, a small portion on a big plate or in a big bowl can lead to children asking why they have less. Plates and bowls that are designed for children are the best options because it gives them the portion they require and doesn’t leave them wondering why their plate or bowl is mostly empty.

Now you’re equipped with knowledge and tools to portion perfectly.  

*Reduce the Juice is the University of London’s sustainability engagement programme aimed at promoting sustainable consumption and reduce carbon emissions in halls of residence.

Sources:

Stop Food Waste – Perfect Portions  

Extra resources:

How to use your hand to calculate the amount of food you should eat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4mxTs2zkkI

Portion size guide for starchy foods, non-dairy proteins, dairy (and alternatives), fruits and vegetables and oils and spreads Bupa – Portion Size Guide.

Sources:

Stop Food Waste – Perfect Portions  

Extra resources:

How to use your hand to calculate the amount of food you should eat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4mxTs2zkkI

Portion size guide for starchy foods, non-dairy proteins, dairy (and alternatives), fruits and vegetables and oils and spreads Bupa – Portion Size Guide.

Somers Town Community Association, 150 Ossulston Street London NW1 1EE
Registered Charity number: 292440
Company Limited by Guarantee 1903408

☎ 020 7388 608
jodie@somerstown.org.uk

Somers Town Community Association is a Charity dedicated to providing a meaningful and positive influence at every level of people’s lives.

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Somers Town Community Association, 150 Ossulston Street London NW1 1EE
Registered Charity number: 292440 Company Limited by Guarantee 1903408

☎ 020 7388 608
jodie@somerstown.org.uk

Somers Town Community Association is a Charity dedicated to providing a meaningful and positive influence at every level of people’s lives.

NewslettersDonate