Handy guide to portion sizes

portion guide

Generally, we are not very good at knowing how much food is too much. While the healthy food train is constantly running, portion sizes are what is letting most of us down when it comes to losing weight.

British Dietetic Association spokesperson, Sian Porter said, “Most people don’t know what an appropriate portion should look like.”

“Even healthy food contains calories. You can make healthy choices but still be eating too much.”

While reports have studied the rate at which portion sizes have changed over the last 20 years, there are limited guidelines on how much we need to be eating. So, when it comes to preparing our meals, what size portion should we serve?

Meat – A serving of meat should be the size of the palm of your hand. Try to aim to have this portion of protein with each meal. Spreading your protein intake throughout the day is easier for the body to process.

White fish – For a portion of white fish (such as haddock, cod or pollock) it should be the size of your hand, including your fingers. White fish is very low in fat and calories; therefore you are able to have a larger portion.

Uncooked spinach – To count as one of your five a day you generally need 80g of spinach (a regular bag is usually 100g). This serving applies to all salad leaves. It is important to have vegetables with every dish, but sadly a couple of leaves in a sandwich has little benefits. Try to have a pot of salad on the side.

Small berries – An 80g portion (one of your five a day) will generally fit into your cupped hands. If you like to add berries to your breakfast, one third of a 250g punnet will count towards your five a day. While there is no harm in eating an entire punnet of berries, be wary of grapes as they are higher in sugar.

Uncooked pasta – Carbohydrates should make up one quarter of your plate. This might sound small, but remember that pasta doubles in size once cooked. One portion of uncooked pasta (or other carbs, such as rice) should be the size of your clenched fist.

Chocolate – A piece of chocolate worth around 100 calories (or 20g) would generally be the size of your index finger. The perfect size for a treat.

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Ellen Hoggard

Written by Ellen Hoggard

Ellen is the Content Manager for Memiah and writer for Nutritionist Resource and Happiful magazine.
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