The trick to getting portions right

We are all guilty of overeating and we may not even realise it.

The trick to getting portions right

We are all guilty of overeating and we may not even realise it. 

How many of us really know what’s a good portion size? Such as, what is the recommended portion size for breakfast cereal? How many servings of carbohydrates should you aim to eat in a day? 

Portion size is important for weight control. In modern society, supersized foods are the order of the day, but cleaning our plate is still our ‘don’t waste food’ mantra, rather than simply being mindful of eating what we need. 

How do you learn to judge portion sizes? 

Take time to understand how much food your body needs. Your stomach is about the size of one fist but it can expand to double its size. It is very easy to overeat, and if you do so regularly, your stomach becomes used to being a larger size. That means you will need to eat larger portion sizes to keep feeling full, leading to weight gain. 

Listen to your body’s cues for food. Are you ‘hungry’ or just ‘peckish’? Sometimes you can even mistake hunger for thirst, so it’s important to keep hydrated by drinking water. If you are peckish, go for healthy foods which will sustain you until your next meal, such as carrots with homemade hummus dip. 

Don’t skip meals. If you don’t eat three square meals, you’re more likely to overeat, especially if you’re starving. 

Eat from a smaller plate. We tend to fill our plate with food and then feel compelled to finish it. Nip this behaviour in the bud by eating from a smaller plate. 

Avoid mindless eating. When you snack in front of the TV you are less mindful about how much food you are putting in your body. Your brain also has a harder time recognising when it is full. 

What portion size should you eat? 

The Department of Health and Ageing recommends that Australians eat a well-rounded diet, with foods from the five food groups, eating mostly vegetables, fruits and grains, with some lean meat and dairy products.

The tables below provide suggestions for healthy eating and recommended portion sizes, as suggested by the Department of Health and Ageing.

Read Food for Health, published by the Australian Government for more information.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    19th Feb 2015
    There are far too many cereals/carbohydrates suggested in the above list! I can't imagine eating 8-18 slices of bread a day with only one serve of non-fatty protein. There has to be a political motivation behind this as there was with school milk.
    The Other Judith
    19th Feb 2015
    I couldn't agree more. This is an incredibly unhealthy diet. It contains far too much processed carbohydrate and not enough protein. It's simple - don't eat processed food. That way you know what you are eating and you are unlikely to put on weight if you don't eat too much fruit. I don't know what is happening with Public Heath these days because they spread a lot of misinformation and I don't trust anything they say.
    19th Feb 2015
    They stole it from the Parliamentary Kitchen !!
    I could afford 3/4 of that, Let alone eat it ? :-(
    They left out the 2 Minute Noodles ?
    And the Weet Bix ?
    19th Feb 2015
    Couldn't ...
    19th Feb 2015
    Where did you get 8-18 slice of bread a day. I read 2 slices of bread or I medium bread roll. Kindly read this correctly. 250ml of milk per day that's what I have in my cups of tea per day.
    The above is a giude and it does not say eat everything listed each day.
    Minimal protein is a laugh this is the type of serve you usually get at a meal, do you each a full slice of rump beef each day? I don't think so.
    Perhaps using that thing called commonsense would be helpful. Head off to your G.P. and ask for a Health Plan for a Dietitian and go for the visit these serving sizes are just what you will see.
    As a population we do eat heaps of unhealthy, totally processed food. Try this for a week and then be shocked by what you see, keep a food diary. You must write
    down everything you eat and the weight of the item, sounds hard but it will teach you about portion sizes. I have done this on and off for years, don't forget to include that piece of chewing gum. It all adds up.
    20th Feb 2015
    4-9 serves of carbs suggested for women. 1 serve of carbs equals eg, 2 slices of bread. I was pointing out the danger of this diet if taken literally. I certainly don't eat like that. Kindly read this correctly. I don't eat red meat either.
    19th Feb 2015
    Thank you Judith, I totally agree with you.
    19th Feb 2015
    I'd be uncomfortably bloated, with a tummy upset from the milk, and starving for meat or fish on that diet
    20th Feb 2015
    This info is totally out of date.
    It is 2005(Reprinted) info, and science has moved on with far less carbs and more protein
    Facts should be checked before misleading your members
    20th Feb 2015
    Well said!

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