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Portion Control

Portion Distortion

Over the years, our perception of what constitutes a serve, or a portion, of food has been slowly increasing. The result of this is that we are eating more and more! Increasing portion size is one of the easiest ways that extra energy (kilojoules) sneaks into our diet because often we don't realise we are eating more than we should.

Handy Portion Control

A simple way to work out what size your portions should be is to use your hands1. This is a great method as it takes into account the differences in dietary needs of men and women, as well as children who have smaller hands and whose recommended portion sizes are smaller than those of adults.

Protein Portion

Protein Portion

The protein portion of your meal (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, tofu) should be the size of your palm. The thickness of your protein choice should be the same as the thickness of your hand.

Carbohydrate Portion

Carbohydrate Portion

The carbohydrate portion of your meal (rice, pasta, potato) should be the size of your closed fist.

Non-Starchy Vegetables Portion

Non-Starchy Vegetables Portion

Your main meal should also include two cupped handfuls of non-starchy vegetables such as peas, broccoli, salad etc…

Adult's Dinner Plate

For an average adult, an ideal dinner plate would look similar to this:

Adults Dinner Plate

Children's Dinner Plate

If you have children, their needs will be different from yours as they are constantly growing. Although the needs of each child is different, generally the ideal plate for a child would be split into three even portions – ⅓ lean protein, ⅓ carbohydrates,and ⅓ vegetables or salad.

Children's Dinner Plate

These guidelines are for average adults and children and may differ depending on activity levels and individual requirements. Please consult your health professional for personal advice before following these recommendations.

Be Healthy Be Active Food Plate PosterFood Plate Poster:

Check out our Be Healthy Be Active Food Plate Poster that you can download and print

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  1. Nikki Hart, NZRD.