A Visual Guide to Portion Sizes

Monday, August 20, 2018

Serving appropriate portion sizes begins with knowing what they look like. While guidelines may vary from country to country, some helpful tips are literally right in your hands.


Understanding the guidelines

With this in mind, it’s also helpful to visualise what a single meal should look like. Various health authorities provide helpful guidance on overall diet, such as the EatWell Guide by Public Health England (PHE).  In general, the focus is on increasing fruit and vegetables—ideally a third of our dietary intake should be fruit and vegetables, another third from starchy carbohydrates (preferably wholegrain) and the final third should be a combination of protein and dairy, with a small amount of oils and spreads1. This can be used as guidance when plating meals.

While these models are easy to visualise, controlling portions is more challenging when food groups are mixed together. For dishes like noodle bowls, stews and pasta, standardised measuring tools can help the kitchen keep portions consistent.


  1. Public Health England, 2016
  2. US National Library of Medicine, 2016