Make getting the correct portion sizes simple with our healthy portion size guide…

Many people are concerned about what and how much they eat but, at the same time, it seems that portion sizes in restaurants and in ready meals are getting bigger all the time and make us feel like those massive portions are the norm. With super-sized products such as king-size chocolate bars it can be more and more challenging to maintain a healthy weight!

Our bodies need a certain number of calories provided from protein, carbohydrates and fats to function well and remain healthy. Start at home and cook adequate portion sizes and, if you follow the advice below, you may end up eating more vegetables and less saturated fat. You will not only be eating healthier and feeling better but over time you will become more alert to what your local pub or restaurant is serving you.

But how much is the right amount? It can be difficult to work out how much cereal, meat or pasta makes up one portion. Even though there is no standardisation in the UK, there are a few simple tricks to getting your portion sizes right. Using just your hands, these visual cues will give you a great starting point to getting your portions just right:

A fist size:

For oats, unsweetened cereal, fruit, uncooked rice, pasta, lentils, milk, and yoghurt

A handful:

For nuts, almonds, seeds and potatoes

Two fingers:

For cheese, nut butter

A finger tip:

For oils, fat, butter, mayonnaise, brown sauce, ketchup, honey

The palm of your hand:

For poultry, fish, beef, scrambled or fried eggs

Two handfuls:

For all vegetables, other than potatoes, and salads

Please remember that these are general guidelines for an average person – nutrition is very personal and your needs vary according to your gender, lifestyle and activity levels, age and body weight.

The smaller portions may feel unfamiliar at the beginning. If you think you didn’t have enough wait a few minutes before helping yourself to another portion. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to let your brain know that you are full.

If you are dining out and would like to avoid the super-sized portions, leave the bread basket and let the restaurant know that you would like to have the smallest cut of meat they have, together with a side salad instead of chips.

Carola Becker, Nutritional Therapist and Corporate Wellbeing Speaker, helps people to live healthier lives through personalised online nutrition coaching. Find out more at

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