Understanding your portions – how to manage your intake

Posted on April 28, 2020 by

If you aren’t doing as much structured or intense training, plus you’re doing less incidental activity – your total energy demands may not be as high as when you’re in full training.

For athletes, it’s still important to eat balanced nutritious meals to meet your current energy demands. It might just be that you don’t need quite as much.

Approaching this doesn’t mean you need to be eating as little as possible, nor does it mean turning your whole diet on its head, cutting out whole food groups or meals to manage intake.

Sometimes you just need to take a layer off the meal you’re current having to maintain consistent intake but reducing total kilojoules.




Practice this by making some slight reductions in serves from the different components of a meal as you fill your plate.

If you wanted to take it a step further you can swap a few ingredient to have a lower kilojoule option for a similar volume or meal combination.

It might surprise you how much that extra mouthful, spoonful, slice, serve or spread makes a difference to the total energy content of your meals.

Even when meals are balanced and healthy, they could simply be too big and supplying more energy than your body needs at that time.

Counting kilojoules doesn’t always result in a healthy relationship with food or a successful diet outcome but it can help to understand food a little better.

Below are some example meals and the total kJ content in them to demonstrate how much energy can vary depending on what you put on the plate and how small shifts can add up.

 

Original option

Reduced portion

Ingredient swap to maximise volume & nutrients

Breakfast

Hot breakfast

3 eggs

2 slice grain toast – thick cut

2 slice short cut bacon

½ avocado

Hot breakfast

2 eggs

2 slice grain toast – thinly sliced

1 slice short cut bacon

¼ avocado

Hot breakfast

2 eggs

1 slice grain toast – thick

½ cup baked beans

½ Grilled tomato

 

  2606kJ 1587kJ 1428kJ

Morning tea

Yoghurt fruit and nuts:

170g tub Plain sweetened yoghurt

2 tbs whole almonds

1 banana

 

Yoghurt fruit and nuts:

170g tub Plain sweetened yoghurt

1 tbs whole almonds

½ banana

 

Yoghurt fruit and nuts:

170g tub natural yoghurt

1 tbs almonds

1 tsp honey

6 strawberries

  1792kJ 1365kJ 816kJ

Lunch

Chicken sandwich:

70g roast chicken including skin

2x slices full-fat tasty cheese

2x slices soy & linseed bread

1 tsp butter

1tsp mayonnaise

1x small tomato

½ carrot grated

Chicken sandwich:

50g roast chicken without skin

1x slices full-fat tasty cheese

2x slices soy & linseed bread

1tsp mayo

1x small tomato

½ carrot grated

Handful baby spinach

 

Open chicken sandwich on vita-weats:

50g grilled chicken breast

4x vita-weats

2x slices reduced-fat tasty cheese

¼ avocado

1x small tomato sliced

½ carrot grated

Handful baby spinach

 

  2659kJ 2187kJ 1733kJ

Afternoon tea

Nibbles

40g cheese

2tbs hummus

8 crackers

Nibbles

20g cheese

2tbs hummus

6 crackers

Nibbles

3tbs cottage cheese

3tbs hummus

Sliced carrots

  1677kJ 1200kJ 1108kJ

Dinner

Spaghetti Bolognese

1.5 cups tomato-based mince sauce

1.5 cups cooked pasta

½ cup tasty grated cheese

Spaghetti Bolognese 

1 cup tomato-based mince sauce

1 cup cooked pasta

½ cup tasty grated cheese

 

Spaghetti Bolognese

1 cup tomato-based mince sauce

½ cup cooked wholemeal pasta

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Bag steamed green vegetables

  3704kJ 2747kJ 1916kJ

Supper

2 scoops flavoured ice cream 1 scoop ice cream 1 scoop frozen yoghurt with fresh berries
  1040kJ 520kJ 400kJ

 

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