01 Feb Portion size guide – portion wise
Easy guide to a healthy balanced diet
We all need the same types of food and drink to have a healthy, strong functioning body, but we all need them in different amounts.
If you’re tall or very active you may need more, if you’re a small person or are trying to lose weight you may need smaller portions.
This portion size guide will help you figure out the right amounts for you. Don’t worry there won’t be any complicated equations or endless weighting and measuring needed.
We will be measuring with your hands so the portion sizes will vary with the size of your hands, and so generally bigger people will automatically get bigger portions and smaller people will get smaller portions.
The portion sizes and groups are based on the British Nutrition Foundation and UK Government guidelines.
To understand how this guide will help you burn the fat leaving you with a healthy, strong and lean body, you first need to understand how we burn fat..
How we burn fat is simple ……. When you consume less energy (calories) than your body uses you will burn fat, this also means if you consume more energy (calories) than you use you will store fat.
If you consume the same amount of energy (calories) as you use you will maintain your current size and weight.
So by following the portion size guide you should bring down the amount of calories consumed and subsequently burn through your fat stores.
As an added benefit you will also consume the correct amount of nutrients you need for a healthy functioning body, which in turn will help you burn through those fat stores.
By Creating a calorie deficit and fuelling your body with the right nutrients, while performing exercise you will look and feel better.
Protein – Palm size, roughly 100g (1 portion )
Carbohydrates – 1 fist full roughly 75g (1 portion )
Fats – roughly thumb size (1 portion )
Vegetables – 1 handful (1 portion )
Diary – roughly 2 thumb size 30g (1 portion )
More on macronutrients here
If you really want to measure portion size accurately the best way is to weigh your food but we have provided some practical measures using your hands and spoons that you can use to get an idea of sensible portion sizes.
- large handful of dried pasta shapes or rice (75g)
- Spaghetti the size of a £1 coin, measured using your finger and thumb (75g)
- the amount of cooked pasta or rice that would fit in two hands cupped together (180g)
- A baked potato about the size of your fist (220g)
- About 3 handfuls of breakfast cereal (40g)
- A piece of grilled chicken breast about the size of the palm of your hand (100g)
- A piece of cheddar cheese about the size of two thumbs together (30g)
- About 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (20g)
- About 3 teaspoons of soft cheese (30g)
What you should be eating for a healthy balanced diet.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES. A variety of different types a day
STARCHY CARBOHYDRATES. Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and others 3 – 4
PROTEIN FOODS. Beans, pulses, sh, eggs, meat and others 2 – 3
DAIRY AND ALTERNATIVES. Yogurt, cheese, milk and alternatives 2 – 3
UNSATURATED OILS. AND SPREADS – Small amounts
Starchy carbohydrates. 3-4 a day. Choose 3-4 portions of starchy foods a day. If having 4,
For most people one portion should be snack-sized. Go for wholegrain and higher fibre options like wholemeal pasta and potatoes with skins when you can.
Protein foods. 2-3 a day. Choose 2-3 portions of these foods a day. Beans, lentils,
chickpeas and other pulses are good choices as they contain fibre, are low in fat and provide vitamins and minerals. Try to have two portions of fish a week, one of which should be an oily fish like salmon or mackerel.
Dairy and alternative foods. 2-3 a day. Choose 2-3 portions of these foods a day. It’s a good idea to check the sugar in these as a lower fat option although lower in calories can be higher in sugar.. If going for plant based dairy alternatives try to choose those that are low in sugars and that are fortified with calcium and ideally other nutrients.
Fruit and vegetables – just eat more!
Try to have at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day – fresh,
frozen, dried and canned all count. A portion is approximately the amount you
can fit in one hand, but you can have bigger portions of fruit and vegetables as
they are mostly low in calories provided there’s no fat or sugar added. For juices
and smoothies the portion size is 150ml (a small glass) which can count as one
portion (but not more) of your 5 A DAY.
Unsaturated oils and spreads
These are oils like rapeseed oil (usually what you buy as vegetable oil in shops)
and plant based oils and spreads made from these. They are healthier fats and
provide fat soluble vitamins. However, they are high in calories and so should
be used in small amounts.