In the UK, the average amount of time spent watching TV is four hours a day compared with five hours in the US. Picture: Magnus D,

South Africa recently celebrated National Nutrition Week which highlighted the escalating risk people face of diet-related disease.

Spearheaded by the The Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA), the theme for this year’s campaign was ‘eat less by choosing your portion with caution!’

What this means is to know when you are full and how much of a certain food group you should eat.

Research findings suggest that that many South Africans eat too little of certain food groups.

Adventure Boot Camp dietician and ADSA chairperson Kim Hofmann says: “Most people are out of tune with correct portions.

“This is particularly due to the serving sizes of restaurants and takeaways, large packaging of foods, as well as the fact that our plates have become much bigger than they were 20 years ago.

“Most people have also stopped listening to their bodies signals and eat because the food is around or they like the taste of it or simply because they are bored. Large portion sizes are one of the major reasons why too many people are overweight and obese. Rather than going on quick-fix diets, we should consider portion control as an avenue for weight loss.”

Some tips to make sure you don’t supersize your portions:

* Draw up an eating plan for each day with the correct portion size that is based on the recommended number of food units from each group according to age, gender and activity level

* Measure or weigh the allowed portion size for that meal. Do this before sitting down at the table;

* Include exercise into your daily routine and make sure you are getting the support you need to stay motivated to keep going.

* Use smaller plates, containers, utensils, glasses and mugs that will make it look ‘fuller’;

* Stick to regular meal times;

* When eating out, share large portions with a friend or request a ‘doggie bag’ for the amount that exceeds the required portion for that meal;

* When eating or snacking in front of the TV, put a small amount in a bowl or container and put away the rest;

* Eat a piece of fruit or small salad if you feel hungry between meals to avoid overeating during meals.

* Before grabbing a snack, ask yourself if you’re truly hungry or if you’re reacting to your thirst, emotions or eating out of habit. Eat less by not using food to cope or to distract you.

* Store leftovers such as casseroles or pasta, in individually sized containers – that way when you decide to re-heat, the portion is just enough for one. - IOL (adapted from a press release)


On the web:

The Department of Health:;

The Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA):;

The Heart and Stroke Foundation:;

Consumer Education Project Milk South Africa: