Portion Sizes

How to get the balance right.

Too much of any food, even foods considered ‘healthy’, adds extra calories each day which can lead to weight gain and increased risk of long health conditions such a type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Getting the right balance of foods by choosing portions sizes that are right for you helps to rebalance your daily diet and put you on track for a healthy diet which provides the right amount of calories and nutrients your body needs.

What’s the right portion size for me?

There are many ways to help balance your portion sizes tailored to your needs.

Calories: As a guide, adult men need about 2,500 calories a day and adult women about 2,000 calories a day. These are average requirements, if you’re more active you may need more calories and similar if you are less active each day you’ll likely need less. Calorie information can usually be found on food and drink packaging, recipe information or published resources. Use our Calorie Calculator tool to work out how many calories you need each day.

Practical measurements: We’re all individuals who come in different shapes, sizes and heights. Using measures aligned with your body size such as handfuls, the size of your palm or a thumb’s width is a good more practical way to help find the right portion size for you without resorting to the kitchen scales. For example, 2 handfuls of dried rice or pasta, piece of cooked meat or fish that about the size of your palm or a piece of cheese about the size of your two thumbs held together.

Recommended Portion Sizes: Using portion guidance found on food labels can also help to balance your diet without the need for scales. For example, half a pack of a noodles, 2 biscuits or a quarter bag of fresh prawns.

Balancing your plate: A healthy more sustainable diet is based mostly on plant based foods, such a grains, pulses, vegetables, salads and fruit. These foods are also naturally lower in calories, which means they can help to make us feel full without adding lots of extra calories. So, aim to fill most of your plate with plant based foods adding other foods (such as lean meats, fish, seafood, dairy and fats) in smaller quantities to start rebalancing your diet.

We’re all different – so choosing portions sizes that are right for you is key