woman placing bananas in a nutribullet, with the nutribullet app open next to it

A quarter of Kiwis think they need to lose 15kgs to be healthy. Even more Kiwis – eight out of ten – have been on some kind of diet in the past year. Two-thirds of respondents in a recent survey said they would eat healthier if it was easier, indicating that the barrage of information and common availability of unhealthy foods was confusing and difficult to manage.

This is perhaps why so many of us are choosing elimination-base diets: sugar-free, low-carb, keto, and so on. It’s easier to say what we can and can’t eat than to simply manage how much we eat.

Dietitian Nikki Hart believes that being healthy isn’t about dieting – it’s about sorting out portion control. “Our obesity statistics are showing us that we are still steadily gaining,” she said. “Twenty years ago when I first started consulting 120kg was considered rare – now I regularly see people at 140kg.” Hart is also alarmed by childhood obesity – children are being fed adult-sized portions.

Hart recommends using your hands to measure food. “The palm of your hand and its thickness should be the meat/chicken portion (the whole hand if its fish), a clenched fist is an excellent way to visualise the potato/rice/pasta, and two cupped hands is your vegetable/salad (roughly half the plate),” she suggested.

More importantly, she said a change in attitude is vital to being happy with your relationship with food. “There is no such thing as as good or bad food, because if we start associating those feelings with food we start berating ourselves for being anything less than perfect,” she said.

Those happiest with their weight were the survey respondents aged 18-24, and those aged 65 or older.

The research was commissioned by Nutribullet Balance and questioned over a thousand New Zealanders. To help New Zealanders manage portions, Nutribullet has released a phone app that uses Bluetooth to tell you when you’ve used too much of an ingredient.