Web Content Viewer (JSR 286) - Healthy Weight


When we talk about our diets, we usually talk about what we eat, but we don’t often talk about how much we eat. And many people are surprised when they learn how much they should eat at a meal.

When we serve meals at home, some of us put too much on our plates. And when we are offered more, it’s easy to say yes.

These days, the meals we buy come in larger serving sizes, too. Take away and fast food servings are typically bigger than they used to be. Fast food restaurants offer ‘value meal deals’ that encourage people to buy (and eat) more food for just a bit more money. And there are more super-sized food items in supermarkets than in the past. Plus drinks high in added sugars, such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and cordial, and  alcohol are all extra on top of what you’re eating.

If you want to, you may be able to reduce the amount you eat at a meal by:

  • Starting meals with salad, which fills you up so you eat less of the main course
  • Using smaller plates and bowls, so you get used to serving and eating smaller meals
  • Eating more slowly
  • Putting leftovers away, or freezing them, as soon as you finish eating so you’re not tempted to have more
  • Always choosing ‘small’ or ‘regular’ servings rather than large ones 
  • Saying no to ‘value meals’ and ‘upsizing’, which encourage you to take in extra kilojoules
  • Drinking water with your meal.

The amount of any particular food we eat is related to both the serving size and how often we have that it.

If you want to know more about how much of each food group to eat, the Eat for Health website can help.

It is easier to reduce your meal sizes gradually rather than suddenly. But don’t decrease the amount of vegetables and fruit you eat – most people need to eat more of these!

If you were going to have a standard meat and vegetable meal, this is what it could look like portion-wise:

  • Lean meat or alternative (such as lean chicken, fish, tofu or beans) taking up no more than one quarter of a plate
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet corn or wholegrain (cereal) food like brown rice taking up no more than one quarter
  • Different types and colours of vegetables and salad taking up around half the plate.

Plate demonstrating a healthy meal size

Photograph: Great Ideas in Nutrition


You can download the Healthy Weight Guide meal planner to plan and record what you eat and drink and monitor your meal sizes. Planning ahead allows you to buy the ingredients that you need to make healthy meals. 

If you register with the Healthy Weight Guide website, you can record your meal plans and update them online as often as you like. There is also a calculator you can use to help you find out the number of serves of each of the food groups you should consume. This will help you to plan your meals and meal sizes. These handy tools can be found in the registered area.

Registering gives you access to tools that will help you to...


Record your goals and plans


Monitor your progress


Celebrate your achievements


For more information: