Article by the Drummond Team

A new food portion size guide to help tackle overeating has just been launched in the UK, advising us to measure out produce using our hands. The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) launched the guide, titled Find Your Balance, which uses simple hand and spoon measures to estimate appropriate portions of food. The guide also suggests how many portions of each food group a person should consume each day to follow a healthy diet.  The guide – based on an average daily calorie allowance of 2000kcal – was designed to complement the Government’s Eatwell Guide,which outlines the proportions of the main food groups that make up a healthy diet. According to the new guide, the correct portion of pasta or rice equates to two handfuls (75g) before cooking. 

While one portion of spaghetti can be measured using your finger and thumb in the shape of an “OK” sign, with the circle matching the size of a £1 coin.

The correct amount of cooked pasta or rice would fit into two hands cupped together, the guide adds. As for cheese, the guide says one portion of cheddar cheese should be about the size of two thumbs together, for example. 

BNF has also advised how often the suggested portions of foods from different food groups should be eaten during the day, and demonstrates how to put this into practice with an example meal plan. 

The suggested allowance of different food groups is: 

  • Fruit and vegetables – 5+ portions per day
  • Starchy carbohydrates – 3-4 portions per day
  • Protein foods – 2-3 portions per day
  • Dairy and alternatives – 2-3 portions per day
  • Unsaturated oils and spreads – small amounts

However, the guide does allow for variations in portion sizes, nutritionists said. “If you use the hand measures we give then portion sizes will vary with the size of your hands and so, generally, bigger people will automatically get bigger portions and smaller people will get smaller ones,” the guide says.

The BNF has packaged its portion size guidance into three free resources: a fridge poster which provides an overview of the advice; a booklet which expands on how to put the portion guidelines into practice; and a longer digital resource, which is downloadable, with advice on portion sizes for a wide variety of foods.  

Sources: The / the / BBC news / The Mail Online