Serve sizes can be confusing and even if you think you are making the right choice, often the food manufacturer dictates how much of a product they constitute as a serve.
Additionally, how we eat a meal and from what type of plate can also have an impact on how much food is consumed.
With the size of dinner plates around Australia increasing year after year, and take-away portions large enough to feed a family, knowing what to look for and implementing some strategies to check in with your portion sizes is a great way maintain health.
Check in with how big your dinner plates are:
Dinner plates are bigger than they used to be. An average dinner size plate is 28.5cm. Go on, get out the measuring tape and measure your dinner plate you might just be surprised.
To check in with your portion sizes, use a smaller plate for some or all meals. And if you’re unsure of what is actually a healthy portion size, head to www.eatforhealth.gov.au.
Know your fruit and veg serve sizes:
For general health and well-being, and to reduce the risk of chronic disease, it is recommended Australians consume 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit per day. And remember a serve of vegetables = 1/2 cup or 75g cooked vegetables or 1 cup salad. A serve of fruit = 1 medium piece of fruit 0r 150g fresh fruit. Interestingly, children still require almost just as much as adults when it comes to fruit and veg. From the age of 9, it is recommended children consume the same healthy serve sizes of fruit and vegetables as adults.
Tip: Based on a family of four, that’s ten cups of vegetables per day.
Know your discretionary foods serve sizes:
Remember discretionary foods are foods that you can eat at your discretion or sometimes. They are not an essential part of the diet because they are often high in saturated fat, sodium, sugar and low in fibre. But how much is too much?
Here are some example discretionary foods and the recommended appropriate serve sizes.
- Enjoy no more than 2 standard drinks on any day
- Enjoy 2 alcohol-free days each week
- Consume no more than 4 standard drinks on any one occasion
- 1 standard drink contains 10g of alcohol (100ml wine, 285ml full-strength beer, 60ml port or sherry, 30ml spirits)
- 375ml (1 can) soft drink
- 2 scoops (75g) regular ice cream
- 25g chocolate (a small bar or 4 squares)
- 12 (60g) fried hot chips
For more examples go to www.eatforhealth.gov.au. To work out how many serves of discretionary food you’re eating each day, one serve is 600kJ.
Plate your meal and set the table.
Although we live in a world that is in love with convenience, making a time to eat and enjoy your meal can help check your portion size.
- Set aside time for each meal breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Set the table
- Choose a plate, opt for your food to fill the imaginary line no bigger than your hand span
- When eating out of a container for lunch or when eating takeaway, plate your meal