Can you have your cake and eat it too? – or where do the extras fit in a healthy diet?


Foods like cake that are low on the essentials we need in food to stay healthy, are called ‘discretionary foods’ in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

This is because some of us (not many!), who aren’t overweight and a bit taller or more active actually have a few spare kilojoules in their day over and above what they need for just the core foods. Ideally one would spend the extra kilojoules on more core foods full of goodies like fibre and antioxidants, but there’s no problem in spending at least some of them on extra ‘empty’ kilojoules, as long as you pay attention to serve sizes.

When the ADTHE is thinking about ‘discretionary foods’ it’s thinking 1 or 2 ‘small’ serves…surprisingly small serves.

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One ‘discretionary’ serve only has about 600 kilojoules so that’s

….. ¼ of a caramel slice from the bakery……

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….2 large squares of chocolate…

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… 1 mini-muffin……

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…or two medium apples….


…so yes, some people can have their cake and eat it too….but only a small slice.


Useful eating plans for a healthy weight


There are plenty of useful, well balanced eating plans around to help plan meals and snacks for a healthy weight, but a few free and easy to use plans from Meat and Livestock Australia are the Look Good, Feel Good plan for young woman, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and the Live Well Plan for adults up to 50.

Great Ideas in Nutrition – useful Christmas secrets


Great Ideas in Nutrition has some great resources for enjoying food but staying light. Here’s some of their Christmas wisdom.

One day of overeating does not a disaster make, but it may equate to indigestion and a lot of lying on the couch.  Put your Portion Perfection knowledge to good use so you feel better at the end of the day.  Useful secrets below…..


SECRET 1 – 1/4 plate of turkey or ham + 1/4 plate of baked potatoes + 1/2 plate of salads or steamed greens + a swish of gravy makes a perfect Christmas meal.


SECRET 2 – The smaller the bowl of nibblies you put out the smaller the handful you will take.


SECRET 3 – Plan not to have too many leftovers.


SECRET 4 – Cherries make a great gift when dropping in on friends.

SECRET 5 – Take time out to relax and restore.

SECRET 6 – Whatever happened it isn’t a disaster. Enjoy your day and then get back on track.


Merry Christmas!

(* FREE POST for orders of Portion Perfection products valued over $50 within Australia – Use COUPON CODE XMAS2014.  Valid till 22 Dec 14, however order before 12 Dec 14 for pre-Xmas delivery).


A great free audio from George Blair West available until tomorrow from Portion Perfection


A great free audio from George Blair West available until tomorrow from Portion Perfection

Portion Perfection has made some free content available through their Facebook page.

Available to download for free until tomorrow.

The fourth piece of this free content from Dr George Blair West is really fantastic:

Eating Mindfully – Tasting More to Eat Less.

It explains the 5 Steps – to be expert at mindful eating:

Tune out distractions – TV, screens, driving, etc;

Tune in to how hungry you feel;

Taste the food not using your taste buds;

Taste using your taste buds – remembering there are none in your stomach!

Tune into how hungry (not how full) you feel – To eat mindfully engage as many of your senses as possible – don’t talk, unless it’s about the food;


‘Weight loss for food lovers’ Dr George Blair-West



Australian Psychiatrist, Dr George Blair-West has useful ideas, that make good sense of why it’s so hard to lose weight and keep it off. He also tells us what makes it easier, especially if you enjoy and appreciate food.

I particularly like his explanation of the ‘what the hell effect’ , ‘restraint theory’, and the ‘last supper effect’ . He has good logic as to why it’s so important for success, to be able to keep incorporating the foods and food sharing occasions that are important to you. This is what he calls the ‘low sacrifice diet’ and involves working out which are your food priorities and what you can do without.

He is big on the concepts of mindfulness and savouring and explains why depending on will power and trying to just use exercise to lose weight, doesn’t work.

George also helpfully unpacks the ‘law of diminishing returns’. This explains why the first mouthful is always the best and pleasure declines rapidly after that. However, the good news is, that if you stop after the first few mouthfuls and then enjoy it again later, the pleasure of the ‘first’ mouthful, returns – a great reason to take the rest of a beautiful meal home with you if you can, once you’ve enjoyed enough the first time.

To listen to several radio interviews that give a good overview of George’s ideas go to:


For more about George and his helpful book go to:

1 – Landing Page – New Homepage


The pros and cons of sharing plates, tapas, buffets and banquets


When dining out it can be much more rewarding to try a larger range of taste experiences in smaller amounts than to be just limited to one or two dishes, that may or may not be so good.

Restaurants offer a number of options that can be useful, but some are more useful than others.

Sharing plates and platters

……can really be your friend.

These are often full of interesting and beautifully presented foods. A treat for all the senses. These can be ordered per person/two people and extra breads or crackers are available if you need them.


Santa Lucia Antipasti Plate $24


Pistachio’s Torrens Dessert tasting plate $20


Pistachios Torrens, trio of entrees $19


Punjabi Hut Manuka, Shared entree plate $19


Tilba Valley Wines Ploughman’s lunch


Jamie’s Italian Meat Platter

The Green Herring Special (menu says it Serves 2 but really it could serve 4) $32 Includes morsels of the maple and banana pudding, spring rolls, brulee and apple pie

The Green Herring Special (menu says it Serves 2 but really it could serve 4) $32
Includes morsels of the maple and banana pudding, spring rolls, brulee and apple pie


Tapas have lots in common with sharing plates and platters, but like entrees, tend to be an expensive way to order as each piece in the tapas dish, is small, but often costs $4-8 per item.

It can also be easy to order too much food, so think about how many serves would be a comfortable and enjoyable amount. This might be 1 1/2 to 2 tapas dishes per person. It is usually easy to order more if you need to.

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Buffets can also offer a wide range of foods and dishes to try. In theory they also allow you to take just the right amount you will enjoy.

However, the range of foods on offer may include plenty of less exciting choices to fill diners up, and because it is ‘all you can eat’, it’s a real challenge not to get overfull.

Because they are priced for larger eaters, you can feel like you are paying for what you won’t really enjoy.

You can’t take any with you, so that tends to make you eat more of your favourites than you would, if you could take some home to enjoy again later.

The key to getting the best out of buffets, is being prepared to leave anything that’s not ‘calorie worthy’ and move on to something else. This is made easier by only seeing yourself a small amount in the first place and going back for more if you will really enjoy more (which is actually rarely the case as…the first mouthful is always the best).


The ‘banquet’ or ‘degustation’ option

It might seem to make sense then, to get the ‘banquet’ option, to make ordering and sharing easy. But it’s usually not the best choice.

For a start, you don’t have control over the dishes you get and they can often be fairly routine foods that everyone knows well.

But perhaps more importantly, like banquets, it’s always way too much food and you end up eating more than you really enjoy, and paying for more than you otherwise would need to.

Also like buffets, often you can’t take any with you.

Whichever way you choose to go, eat mindfully, savour each mouthful to gain maximum pleasure, and stay aware to keep comfortable without getting overfull.

Breakfast like a King?? Maybe share it!


Breakfast or brunch with friends can be a great way to catch up in a busy lifestyle. It is often more relaxed and casual than other meals out.
It can also can be easier to include children at this time of day, especially if venues open to the outdoors.
But, if you are trying to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight, too many cafe breakfasts can start to really weigh you down.
If you really think about it though…..these days, not many of us usually eat hearty, cooked or large breakfasts.
Our breakfast tend to be quite small and light…so why not share a cafe breakfast with someone else? That would make it just about the same size that we would normally eat.
It’s still the same interesting dish and if savoured and eaten mindfully, just as rewarding and satisfying.
And no-one leaves feeling full and stodgy, but instead ready to take up any other interesting culinary opportunities that the day might bring.