Are you still using measuring cups, calculators, scales and your head to do the portion control math? Well just stop. Please stop! You’ve been carrying an easy-to-use tool with you all your life and you never knew it! Not only you, me too! Don’t know how much I have spent on measuring cups of many colors, shapes, and sizes. Talk less of the amount of time I’ve spent converting oz to grams and lbs to kilos. Do I hear you say “Ohh me too?”. Well, that’s about to end immediately you read through this post!
Some years ago Dr. Mwaji developed the ‘Zimbabwean Hand Jive’ – an easy to use method to measure the amount of food you need “imaginatively” and in a reasonably accurate manner, without scales. All you need are your hands! Yes, it’s that easy! And guess what? The bigger your hands, the bigger your portions….did I hear you shout Halleluyah? I know, eating more always calls for a celebration! 🙂
So let’s get right into the principle behind this method:
You will be eating foods from the main food groups – carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, and fats – but in portions that are adequate for your age, your height and weight. So here are the general recommendations when planning meals for persons with normal weight (people who are in the healthy weight range for their age and height):
Carbohydrates (starch and fruits): vital for energy!
Choose an amount the size of your 2 fists!
Recommended carb sources:
- Root Vegetables/tubers: sweet potatoes (all colors), plantains, potatoes, yams, taro, cassava
- Grain: corn, couscous, long grain brown rice, ofada rice, oatmeal, popcorn (salt and sugar-free), amaranth, barley, whole grain cereals (no added sugar), buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice,
- Bread: whole grain bread, whole grain muffins
- Fruit: Mangos, bananas, pineapple, soursop, apples, grapes, plums, melons, kiwi, berries, apricots, oranges, tangerines, peaches, nectarines, pears, plums
- Legumes: beans, lentils, peas, black-eye-peas, maize
- Dairy: milk (full fat), yogurt (full fat) with fruit
Practical example: Message maize, amala, waterfufu, pounded yam or eba using your fist!
Proteins: essential for build muscle and cell repair!
Choose an amount the size of the palm of your hand and the thickness of your little finger
Recommended protein sources:
- Dairy: cottage cheese (full fat), eggs, Greek yogurt (full-fat plain), yogurt (low carb/full fat/high protein)
- Poultry: chicken, duck breast, ostrich, turkey breast (low salt)
- Red Meat: beef (lean cuts), game (low sodium), shaki (cow stomach), Pomo (cow skin), liver,
- Seafood: Tilapia, Mackerel catfish, cod, crab, halibut, lobster, mussels, salmon, shrimp, snails, snapper, tilapia, trout, tuna
- Vegetable Protein: tempeh, tofu
- White Meat: pork (lean)
Practical example: Chicken, fish, Pomo, shaki or nyama (snails) using your palm (if you are using assorted meat, mix all meat and use one palm full).
Vegetables: fortify your body with vitamins, minerals, and fiber!
Choose as much as you can hold in both cupped hands.
Recommended veggie sources
Vegetables in this category include low-energy-dense vegetables.
Dark leafy vegetables: green leafy vegetables like collard, green (aka. Efo tete, African spinach), bitterleaf (Efo ewuru), wild lettuce (Efo Yanrin), waterleaf (Gbure), eggplant leaves (Efo Igbo), malabar spinach (Amunututut), African basil or scent leaf (Efinrin), eru (Afang leaf)
Other vegetable sources: lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, garden eggs spinach, fluted pumpkin leaf (Ugu), Bamenda njama njama, sweet bitterleaf, cocoyam leaf.
Practical example: salads, spinach using both hands cupped.
Fats and Oils: Healthy fats help keep you feeling full longer!
Limit fat and oils to an amount the size of your thumb.
Recommended fat sources
Dairy: cheese (full fat), feta cheese, mozzarella (low fat)
Dressings: Home- made mayonnaise and balsamic vinaigrette, mayonnaise (full fat
Fruit: Avocado, olives
Nuts & Seeds: Peanuts (grilled or fresh) peanut butter (home-made, natural, with a pinch of salt) almond butter (with a pinch of salt), almonds (raw, whole), pecans (raw, chopped), pumpkin seeds (egusi) sesame butter, sunflower seeds, soy nuts (roasted, lightly salted), walnuts (raw, chopped)
Oils: red palm fruit oil, peanut oil (groundnut oil), canola oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, safflower oil and coconut oil (all extra virgin).
Practical example: Roasted groundnut with minimal salt.
So there you have it. No more stress, no more equations, in fact, no more mathematics. Just you, your hands and your food.