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 Nathalie Winn: ‘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 Food Standards Agency Eatwell plate. This represents the proportions of foods we should to be aiming to eat each day:

1. 1/3 should be based on fruit and vegetables - aim for at least 5 portions a day
2. 1/3 should be based on starchy foods, including bread, rice, potatoes and pasta (choose wholegrain where possible)
3. 1/3 should be made up of a mixture of meat, fish*, eggs and beans, milk and dairy foods, and only a small amount of foods high fat and/or sugar

*We should aim to eat 2 portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily

The eatwell plate

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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Easy portion control 

Waitrose’s utensil range simplifies portion control to make it easier to stay on track. The range includes a cereal portion scoop, a trio of serving control tools that show how much of each food should be on your plate and a pasta portion cook and strain basket, which easily indicates one portion of pasta or spaghetti and can be used in boiling water.

Portion control utensils