Portion sizes

When it comes to working out how much to serve, size really does matter and yes, you can have too much of a good thing. Watching your portion size is a key factor in helping to prevent weight gain.

How much should I eat?

what is an average portion size?

Using your hand can be an easy way to check the size of your food portions. 

When serving up for someone else, use the size of their hand. You can use this guide for planning children’s meals as well; just remember they have much smaller hands (and appetites!) than adults. 

If you’re looking to reduce portion sizes it’s a good idea to initially focus on processed food, which is high in salt, sugar, and saturated fat.

Then move on to the meat, cheese and carbohydrate components of a meal. If you’re afraid your plate will look a little empty, why not fill it with more vegetables. These can be lost cost if bought in season and should be eaten in larger quantities than other foods.

It can be very easy to over serve, and therefore overeat, especially when you are hungry! Use these guides to help you create servings of following food types:

How many vegetables and fruit can I eat?

Your two hands cupped together is a good guide for the portion of non-starchy vegetables like carrots, broccoli, beetroot, cauliflower or eggplant. Tip – choose vegetables from all the colours of the rainbow. Each colour provides a different range of nutrients.

How many grain foods and starchy vegetables can I eat?

A closed fist is a good guide for a portion of starchy carbohydrate foods like taro, potato, rice, banana and bread. Tip – if you want more than one carbohydrate in your meal, reduce the size of each one, so the total is the size of one fist

How many legumes can I eat?

A closed fist is a good guide for a portion of legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils or beans.

How much fish can I eat?

The whole of your hand is a good portion guide for a piece of fish (instead of meat in your meal). Tip – Your whole hand is about the size of one fish fillet

How much meat can I eat?

The palm of your hand is a good guide for a portion of red meat or chicken. Tip – The thickness of the meat should be about the same thickness as the palm of your hand

Guide to working out portion sizes

Get the Food Portions posterHow can I reduce my weight?