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Our guide to healthy portion sizes

Maintaining a healthy weight is not just about what you eat but how much you eat. If you’re looking to lose weight, having too many calories, even if you are eating healthily, can make shifting the weight a struggle. If you’re eating too much and not burning it off with exercise, you will still gain weight explains Waitrose nutritionist Nicola Selwood: ‘It’s the simple energy in and energy out model - overeating by as little as 50-100 calories a day will cause the pounds to creep on.’ Many of us find it to hard to judge what a ‘normal’ portion size is, so we’ve put together some easy tips to control your portions . Before you know it, you’ll be able to instantly recognise how much you should be eating.

To help you get the right balance of foods over the day, use our guide below, based on the Public Health England Eatwell guide. This represents the proportions of foods we should to be aiming to eat each day.

The eatwell plate

Try to:

  • eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates; choosing wholegrain versions where possible
  • have some dairy or dairy alternatives; choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
  • eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
  • choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts
  • drink 6 to 8 cups/glasses of fluid a day

If consuming foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar have these less often and in small amounts.

Getting your portion sizes right

Now you know what proportions your diet should be made up of overall, it is also important to know what portion sizes look like.

Know your portion sizes

Additional portion size tips:


2 medium eggs
A heaped handful of pulses (beans, lentils or chick peas)
A mug of dried pasta (75g)
1 slice of toast
200ml semi-skimmed milk
150ml pot of yoghurt
2 tablespoons cottage cheese
Approximately 40g of breakfast cereal 



One portion of fruit and veg (80g) equals: 

1 banana/apple/pear
A handful of grapes or berries
150ml fruit juice
A heaped tablespoon of raisins or dried apricots
Half an avocado
2 clementines
1 large sweet potato
3 tablespoons lentils

 

One portion of fruit and veg is 80g, which is:

 

1 banana/apple/pear

A handful of grapes or berries

150ml fruit juice

A heaped tablespoon of raisins or dried apricots

Half an avocado

2 clementines

1 large sweet potato

3 tablespoons lentils

 

One portion of fruit and veg is 80g, which is:

 

1 banana/apple/pear

A handful of grapes or berries

150ml fruit juice

A heaped tablespoon of raisins or dried apricots

Half an avocado

2 clementines

1 large sweet potato

3 tablespoons lentils

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A quick guide to Reference Intakes

Reference intakes (RI) are a useful guide to help you understand the nutritional requirements of a typical adult on a day to day basis. The exact amount of food you need each day will depend on your age, gender, size and how active you are.

Did you know, the percentage of the reference intake a product gives you of fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt are shown on the front of pack traffic lights as %RI.



Energy 8400kJ/2000kcal
Fat 70g
Saturates 20g
Carbohydrates 260g
Sugars 90g
Protein 50g
Salt 6g

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