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Get portion wise with new guide

The British Nutrition Foundation has launched a practical guide to portion sizes to help us understand not just which foods to eat, but how much and how often, in order to maintain a healthy weight and balanced diet.

The guide, Find Your Balance, uses simple hand and spoon measurements to help us get the right portion size, based on an average adult’s daily calorie intake of 2,000kcal.

To develop the portion size guidelines, BNF’s Nutrition Scientists reviewed portion size guidance from other countries, analysed portion sizes currently consumed in the UK, and what is available to buy in supermarkets. These portion sizes were modelled in test diets to ensure they could meet current food and nutrient-based recommendations.

Bridget Benelam, nutrition communications manager at the BNF said: “More often than not, portion size is not something people give much thought to. The amount we put on our plate typically depends on the portion sizes we are used to consuming, how hungry we feel and how much is offered as a helping at a restaurant table or in a packet/ready meal. Nonetheless, in order to maintain a healthy weight we should ensure that our diets contain the right balance of foods, in sensible amounts. This isn’t just about eating less; it’s also about eating differently.”

Within its portion size guide, the BNF has advised how many portions of different food groups should be eaten during the day: five or more portions of fruit and vegetables, three-four portions of starchy carbohydrates, two-three sources of protein, two-three of dairy products (or suitable alternative), and small amounts of unsaturated oils and spreads.

Benelam continued: “While the types of different food and drinks we need apply to all healthy adults, we understand that no two individuals are the same and the amount of food we need varies from person to person. If you’re tall or very active you may need more and could have larger portions, and if you have a slighter build or are trying to lose weight, you may need smaller portions.”

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.

You can access the BNF’s handy guide to portion sizes here.

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