Tips to reduce your portion sizes

Did you know eating an extra 100 calories a day can lead to weight gain of 4.5kg (10lb) a year? Watching your portion sizes is a great way to prevent this. Whether you are eating in, eating out or food shopping, we have tips and advice to help you get your portion sizes right.

Eating in

  • Eat slowly
  • Use a smaller plate
  • Fill a third of your dinner plate with vegetables or salad
  • Instead of eating from a large packet, serve a single portion into a bowl.
  • Serve food on individual plates to avoid second helpings
  • Freeze or chill left-overs right away so you are not tempted to go back for more
  • Avoid eating while watching TV as it’s easy to overeat when you are distracted.
  • If you enjoy a high calorie snack, have the on-pack serving size (e.g. one scoop of ice cream)
  • Alcohol contributes to calorie intake. If you enjoy an occasional glass of wine or beer have a small one rather than a large one, and be careful with your measures at home.

Eating out

  • If you order a high calorie food such as pizza or chips, order a small size
  • Order a half portion, have a starter as your main meal or split a dessert with a friend
  • Forget what your mother said. You don’t have to finish your plate. Ask for a "doggy bag" and take your leftovers home

Food shopping

  • Don’t buy the foods you tend to overeat
  • Make a list so you only buy what’s needed
  • Check the number of portions in pre-packaged foods – a pack may contain more than one portion
  • If you are buying treat foods buy snack sizes and only have one
  • Buy single portions "on the go" so you won’t be tempted by bigger pack sizes

Guides to healthy portions - Dairy (1 of 5)

infogrpahic showing milk and cheese portions

More guides

  1. Cereals, breads and potatoes
  2. Fruit and vegetables
  3. Dairy
  4. Meat and fish alternatives
  5. Butter and oil

Remember, children are smaller and don’t need adult-sized portions on their plates. Children and teenagers should be encouraged to try everything on their plate but be sure to let them decide when they have had enough – never force them to finish everything on their plate.

Recent research shows that one in three people say they find it difficult to manage portion sizes.