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New portion size guidance published

Jan 16, 2019 3:43:00 PM / by Lauren Gibson

This week the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) launched some new resources aimed to help individuals ‘get portion wise’. 

The resources developed by the BNF are designed to complement the Eatwell Guide, they split foods into 5 categories and suggest a range of servings that individuals should aim to consume daily: 3-4 portions of starchy carbohydrates, 2-3 portions of proteins, 2-3 portions of dairy and alternatives, 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables and small amounts of unsaturated oils and spreads. The guide also puts foods high in fat, salt and/or sugar into a ‘Treats’ category suggesting to keep portion sizes small and not to consume these foods too often.

The guide offers portion sizes in hand and spoon measurements as well as in grams/millilitres, this may make life easier for some as it means they don’t have to use measuring scales when preparing meals. Suggested portion sizes include:

Cooked pasta – the amount you can fit in 2 cupped hands (180g)

Uncooked spaghetti – use finger and thumb to measure a bunch the size of a £1 coin (75g)

Cooked chicken - half the size of your hand (120g)

Hard cheese – the size of two thumbs (30g)

Baked potato – the size of your fist (220g)

Unsalted nuts and seeds – the amount that fits in your palm (20g)

The portion guidance is based on suggested intakes for an average, healthy weight adult women. Those who are smaller or trying to lose weight may need smaller portions, similarly those who are taller or more active may need to consume larger portions.

Measuring portions with hands often accounts for the variance between individuals e.g. those who are smaller will generally have smaller hands and therefore have smaller portions.

Further information on the ‘Find your balance: Get portion wise’ resources can be found at: www.nutrition.org.uk/findyourbalance

Lauren Gibson

Written by Lauren Gibson

Lauren has an MSc in Nutrition from the University of Leeds and is a Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr).