Quality Advice For Healthy Eating – Portions

For an idea of portions and how much you should eat, consider the size of your stomach – on the inside. It might be difficult to imagine, but its really the size of your clenched fist. Of course, the stomach expands as you eat, but it doesn’t keep doing this without you feeling full.

When you feel satisfied, that’s when you should stop eating. The kinds of food that best satisfies you and ensures you don’t keep eating, are low fat foods and foods high in fibre.

Here’s some info about how much, or the portions of, protein, fat and carbohydrates we should eat per day.

According to experts in nutrition, we need about 40-55g (1½-2oz) of protein per day (teenagers need more), 2-4 servings of good fats (where 1 serving = 2 tsp mono/poly-unsaturated oil, or 15g (½oz) of nuts), and between 165g (5½oz) – 275g (10oz) of high fibre carbohydrate (depending on how active we are).


Protein foods tend to have the most concentrated carbohydrates, low in fat, loads of essentials vitamins and minerals, and fibre.

For an idea about amounts of protein in food – take 1 cup (7½oz) of cooked brown rice, it has about 6g (1/4oz) of protein. And 1 slice of multigrain bread or 30g (1oz) of raw rolled oats has 3g (1/8 oz) of protein.

Quality Advice For Healthy Eating   Portions

The best sources of protein:

    • Legumes
    • Low fat dairy/fortified soy (soy with added calcium)

A cup of skim milk or a low fat yoghurt has about 10g of protein, and good amounts of calcium. Did you know that butter, cream and sour cream are not sources of calcium? They consist mainly of saturated fat (not the good kind!)

    • Soy (low fat and calcium fortified)

A cup of soy contains about 24g of protein, rich in fibre, iron and zinc. Soy is higher in fat that other legumes

    • Nuts and seeds

Most nuts contain around 5g of protein in 30g (1oz) – macademias and pecans have less. Nuts are great sources of vitamin E and selenium. They are high in fat (mostly unsaturated) which means that they should be eaten in moderation. Try to get unsalted and unroasted nuts. You can roast them in a light mixture of tamari for extra flavour.

    • Cereal grains

These grains include seeds of cereal plants, such as buckwheat, maize, barley, bulgur, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, wheat, spelt. 1 slice of multigrain bread has 3g (1/8 oz) of protein.


We need a certain amount of fats. These should be good fats from nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocadoes. Fats contain essential fatty acids which help to absorb vitamins and antioxidants; they’re needed for hormones, to keep us insulated, and they help food taste better! The portions of fats we need is much less than that of protein – think 2-4 tsp of olive oil or non-hydrogenated spreads.

The Good:

  • oils
  • non-hydrogenated spreads
  • avocadoes
  • olives
  • soy beans
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • nut butters
  • untoasted muesli

The not so good

  • full cream dairy
  • copha, ghee, solid frying oils, solid margarines
  • chips
  • cakes, biscuits, pastries, pies, pizza
  • deep fried foods


We need carbohydrates for energy. They are found in all foods, but some foods contain more than others.

The richest sources:

    • Grains (the richest source)

20-30g of carbohydrate = 2 slices bread, 1 cup breakfast cereal, ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup of cooked rice,bulgur, 1 cup of cooked pasta, noodles, couscous

    • Legumes

20-30g portions = 1 cup of beans, chickpeas, lentils

    • Vegetables

20-30g = ½ cup of corn, 2 small potatoes, ½ a medium sweet potato

  • Fruit
  • Fruits has lots of antioxidants which provide huge health benefits. 3-5 portions a day.
  • Low fat dairy – best sources are yoghurt, custard and icecream (not cheese)