From Metro UK
We know we need to eat a balanced diet but sometimes it can be hard to tell if we are eating too much of something.
Now, the British Nutrition Foundation have launched a handy guide to help you decide what you should eat, how often and in what quantities.
The Find Your Balance guide uses either your hand or a spoon to help estimate portions.
Using these portions you can figure out how much of each food group you are eating.
How much should you be eating?
- Two handfuls of dried pasta shapes or rice (75g)
- A bunch of 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 three handfuls of breakfast cereal (40g)
- A piece of grilled chicken breast about half the size of your hand (120g)
- A piece of cheddar cheese about the size of two thumbs together (30g)
- About one tablespoon of peanut butter (20g)
- About three teaspoons of soft cheese (30g)
Bridget Benelam, Nutrition Communications Manager at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: ‘More often than not, portion size is not something people give much thought to.
‘The amount we put on our plate typically depends on the portion sizes we are used to consuming, how hungry we feel and how much is offered as a helping at a restaurant table or in a packet/ready meal.
‘Nonetheless, in order to maintain a healthy weight we should ensure that our diets contain the right balance of foods, in sensible amounts. This isn’t just about eating less; it’s also about eating differently.
‘When researching the portion size guidelines, we looked at data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey* (NDNS) on food consumption, and found that there was a lot of variation in the portion sizes people reported eating.
How many portions of each food should you eat?
- Fruit and vegetables – 5+ portions per day
- Starchy carbohydrates – 3-4 portions per day
- Protein foods – 2-3 portions per day
- Dairy and alternatives – 2-3 portions per day
- Unsaturated oils and spreads – small amounts
‘Our suggested portion size for cooked pasta is 180 grams (254kcal) but, for example, when we looked at portion sizes for spaghetti, the most commonly consumed size was 230 grams (324kcal) and about 10 percent of the sample we looked at were consuming 350 grams as a portion, which would provide nearly 500 calories from the pasta alone, before sauces and sides were added to the meal.’
Bridget continued: ‘While the types of different food and drinks we need apply to all healthy adults, we understand that no two individuals are the same and the amount of food we need varies from person to person.
‘If you’re tall or very active you may need more and could have larger portions, and if you have a slighter build or are trying to lose weight, you may need smaller portions.’