Choose Your Portion with Caution | Western Cape Government

Choose Your Portion with Caution

National Nutrition Week

Did you know that 11.6% of men and 40.1% of women in South Africa are obese?

Overeating, also known as binge eating, is a growing problem in South Africa and health risks increase dramatically among overweight individuals. With this in mind, a big focus has been placed on portion control for National Nutrition Week (9-15 October 2014).

What Can You Do to Control Your Meal Portions?

  • Use smaller plates, bowls and serving utensils.
  • Use a smaller glass to limit the amount of drinks consumed at a time.
  • Avoid being tempted by second and third helpings. Serve reasonable portions and remove serving dishes from the table. Keeping excess food out of reach may discourage unintentional overeating.
  • Eat slowly. Be aware that your body may only experience feeling “full” sometime after eating your meal. 
  • Stick to regular meal and snack times.
  • When eating or snacking in front of the TV, put a small amount in a bowl or container and leave the rest of the package in the kitchen.
  • Snack foods that are bought in bulk should be portioned into individual size bags. Store large containers out of sight in a storage closet, cabinet, or garage.
  • Keeping healthier foods within easy reach means you'll eat more of those foods. Place fruit in a large bowl on the counter and serve cut vegetables as the family arrives home from school or work.

"Choose your portion with caution" also means that you should actively manage the amount of salt you use with your food. Salt can increase blood pressure when too much is eaten.

What Should You Remember About Salt?

  • Buy fresh, plain, frozen or canned "with no salt added" vegetables.
  • Use fresh poultry, fish and lean meat, rather than canned or processed types or frozen chicken.
  • Use herbs, spices, and sodium-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table instead of salt and stock powders/cubes, and remove the salt shaker from the table.
  • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt.
  • Limit the use of instant or flavoured rice, pasta and cereal mixes that contain higher amounts of salt.
  • Choose "convenience" foods that are lower in salt. Limit the use of ready-to-eat frozen meals, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths and salad dressings.
  • Rinse canned foods like beans to remove some of the salt added in the brine.
  • Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are lower in salt.
  • Olives, pickles and other items packed in brine are saturated in salt and the intake of these high-sodium foods should therefore be limited.
  • When eating out, ask for your meal to be prepared without salt and ask for any sauces, gravies or salad dressings to be served in a separate dish on the side.
  • Choose food products with the Heart Mark as these are lower in salt.
  • Healthy eating is a key component of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Enjoy a variety of foods.
  • Use salt and sugar sparingly.
  • Drink lots of water.

Learn more about National Nutrition Week.

National Nutrition Week

The content on this page was last updated on 8 October 2014