Portion Control


When it comes to losing weight and then keeping it off long term, it all comes down to portion sizes. Sure we may know that a restaurant meal out has a few more calories than we would usually enjoy at dinner, but an issue that we consider far less often is the insidious ways in which we eat extra calories numerous times throughout the day – a slightly larger slice of bread, an extra teaspoon or two of oil on the salad or simply eating from a larger plate just a few of the ways in which our portions tend to gradually increase over time, as does our weight. 

The good news is that once you have a much clearer idea of what a portion of food should be it is relatively easy to cut back and ultimately it is a small number of cut backs spread over a range of food decisions that equates to weight control.


 Portion Size

 No. of serves a day

 Fruit  1 medium piece or ¾ cup  2
 Vegetables  ½ cup cooked or raw  Min of 2-3 cups
 Milk  200ml  3-4 dairy serves 
 Yoghurt  100ml / ½ cup  3-4 dairy serves 
 Cheese  30-40g or 2 slices  1 serve/day
 Lean meat/chicken  100-150g cooked (palm size)  1-2/day
 Fish  150-200g (hand size)  1-2/day
 Rice/pasta  ½ cup cooked  1-2/day
 Breakfast cereal  ¾ cup  1 serve/day
 Oil  1 tspn  1-2 serves/day
 Avocado  ¼ medium or 2 tbsp  1 serve/day
 Multigrain bread  2 small slices  1 serve/day
 Wine  20ml or 1 small glass  1-2/day
 Chocolate  20g or 2-4 squares  1 serve/day
 Nuts  10-15 or 30g  1 serve/day
 Sauces  1 tbsp  1-2 serves/day


Tips for portion control

  • Always measure breakfast cereal and rice/pasta serves using a measuring cup.
  • Keep kitchen scales handy to check meat portions and serving sizes.
  • Measure out sauces and oils rather than pouring haphazardly.
  • Purposely look for small slices of bread when shopping.
  • Use grated cheese or invest in a cheese slice to control portions.
  • Measure out serves of dip and cheese when serving platters.
  • Only carry portion controlled snacks of nuts and crackers.
  • Remember your plate ratios of ¼ protein, ¼ carbs and ½ vegetables or salad.
  • Serve desserts and treats in small bowls and glasses.
  • Always order a small or piccolo sized coffee.

Portions Visually

  • Meat = i-phone
  • Cheese = Make up compact
  • Carbs = Computer mouse
  • Bread = no bigger than your hand
  • Rice = Asian bowl
  • Wine = ½ teacup
  • Sauce = 20c piece

One of the biggest is issues to consider when it comes to portion control is that when we enjoy meals away from home, at a restaurant, café or even someone else’s home, that they are likely to consume at least 20-30% more calories. Extra oil, sauces and added fats via cheese and butter are just a few of the reasons for this. Added to this relatively large serving sizes of meat compared to small serves of vegetables, extra bread and possibly coffee and dessert, such a feeding frenzy can easily give you 500-600 extra calories without even trying.

Susie Burrell

Please note: This blog aims to supply user-friendly nutrition information for busy people without comprising on food taste and quality but should be used as a guide only and not in place of advice from your own dietitian or medical specialist. For further information on this topic, please consult your health professional. The content of this blog, including attachments, may be privileged and confidential. Any un-authorised use of this content is expressly prohibited. Any views that are expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender expressly, and with authority, states them to be the views of Susie Burrell Pty Ltd.
Category: Nutrition

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