Perfect portion sizes – talkhealth Blogtalkhealth Blog

If you’re trying to get healthy, lose weight, or want to maintain your weight, portion sizes are something you’ve definitely considered. But what is a healthy portion size? And how many servings of each food group should I eat per day? The key to eating a healthy diet is eating a variety of foods in the right amounts. Making healthier choices also means eating certain foods more often and in larger quantities than others. This article aims to give you some tips and information to help you choose healthy portion sizes.

Some considerations

While this article provides information on standard serving sizes, we should be aware that as everyone is different, we should expect there to be some individual variation in this. For example, if he is very active, he will need more calories, therefore, his portion sizes may need to be larger or he may need more servings. The same goes the other way around: if you’re really inactive, you may need less. There are many factors that affect this, including your activity levels, your sex at birth, your age, and your metabolic rate. So use this information, but adapt it to work for you.

Serving Sizes

We hope the following is a helpful guide for you.

carbohydrate foods

Food Healthy serving size What this looks like visually
Bread 34-36g One medium slice, 1 roll
Pasta 75 g raw weight (or 150 g cooked) 2-3 tablespoons
Rice 50 g raw weight (or 150 g cooked) 2-3 tablespoons
Potatoes (These are counted as carbohydrates, not vegetables) 120g (boiled with skin)

180g (jacket with fur)

2-3 egg-sized potatoes

1 medium jacket

Cereal 40g 3 tablespoons

Protein foods

Food Healthy serving size What this looks like visually
cooked meat (including chicken, turkey, beef, pork and lamb) 90g a pack of letters
Cooked fish 140g the palm of your hand
Eggs 120g 2 medium eggs
Beans and legumes (including baked beans, chickpeas, beans and lentils) 150g 4 tablespoons
soy and tofu 100 grams 4 tablespoons
Nuts and seeds 25-30g A small handful or 1 tablespoon

Dairy and alternatives

Food Healthy serving size What this looks like visually
Milk (or a calcium-enriched plant-based alternative such as soy, oat, or almond milk) 200 ml (1/3 pint) A glass
Yoghurt 125-150g Standard pot or 3 tablespoons
Hard cheese 30g A piece the size of a small matchbox.

Fruits and vegetables

Food Healthy serving size What this looks like visually
Apple, pear, orange, banana. 80g A medium fruit
Smaller fruits, e.g. plums, fresh apricots, satsumas 80g two fruits
Berries (including grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries) 80g A bunch
Dry fruits (including raisins, dried apricots, dried mangoes and prunes) 30g a tablespoon
Vegetables (including sweet corn, carrots, green beans 80g 3-4 tablespoons
Cherry tomatoes 80g 7 cherry tomatoes
Salad 80g A full cereal bowl

Fats and oils

Try to limit your use of oils and spreads and measure them, as it is easy to add too much, especially when cooking or drizzling oil on a salad. It is better to use “unsaturated” oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil, rather than others. A serving of oil and spread is about 5g/5ml (equivalent to a teaspoon).

Number of servings each day

Using the portion size information above, this information gives you an estimate of the number of servings from each food group you will need to consume on a typical day to maintain your ideal weight. Remember you can always halve portions to make smaller snacks between meals. This information does not include drinks, oils or spreads, nor “foods high in fat and sugar”, for example crisps, biscuits, chocolate and sausage rolls.

Food group Number of servings throughout the day. Useful notes
carbohydrate foods 3-4 servings

Always try to choose versions of carbohydrates that are whole grains or higher in fiber, for example granary bread, whole grain pasta, basmati or brown rice, potatoes with skin, high fiber grains such as oats, weatabix and grated wheat.

Protein foods 2 -3 servings Try to eat less red and processed meats (e.g. ham, sausages, hamburgers). Choose lean meat whenever possible (for example, ground beef with a lower percentage of fat). We should try to include more beans and legumes (e.g. lentils, chickpeas, beans) and two servings of sustainably sourced fish each week, one of which is an oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna).
Dairy and alternatives 3 servings Whenever possible, try to choose low-fat and low-sugar versions. Some yogurts, for example, may be high in sugar and you will need to check the labels to compare and ensure you have a healthier variety.
Fruits and vegetables 5 servings – As minimum. Eat more if you can! Variety is key – trying to include a variety of different colors is a good way to get a variety of different micronutrients.

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