Are your portion sizes too big? The Doc explains the correct servings for protein, carbs and veggies – and you might be surprised!

Are your portion sizes too big? The Doc explains the correct servings for protein, carbs and veggies – and you might be surprised!


  • Dr Phillip Wuth, Brisbane-based GP, and Founder of The Doctor’s Ktichen Australia has revealed the correct portion sizes
  • Recent surveys suggested that Australians are underestimating their calorie intake by 50 per cent.
  • According to Dr Wuth, if you’re eating too much of anything you won’t lose weight
  • He recommends using hands to measure portions is a good approach for most people as a guide to show how much of each food we should be eating
  • It could make people more aware of their calories if they're trying to lose weight

We’ve all been there: after enjoying a quick snack, we check the nutrition label only to learn we’ve just eaten two, three or even four servings when we thought we were having one! 

Although most people are making more of an effort to eat healthy and a balanced diet rich in protein, carbohydrates and fruit and vegetables, many of us are still carrying excess weight.

Dr Phillip Wuth said portion sizes are key and if you're eating too much of anything you won't lose weight.  

So many of my patients tell me they're always eating the 'right' things but just can't seem to lose any weight.

'Portion control is the key to living a maintainable and healthy life.' If we can shift the way we look at food to see healthy servings sizes, then maybe we won’t be fooled when it comes to being over-served. The Doc’s guide — using a medium adult hand as the visual clue — should help. 

The suggestions are in line with the Australian Government's Dietary Guidelines, which says our diet should be made up of 2 serves of fruit, 2 serves of vegetables (for starchy vegetables), 5 serves of green-leafy vegetables and the rest divided between dairy and protein.

Serving Size vs Portion Size

A serving size is a measured amount of food — 1 cup, 1 slice, 1 bag — intended to be eaten at one time. It’s the amount you’ll see on a food label, and it’s what the Australian Dietary Guidelines use for recommended serving sizes per day.

A portion size, by contrast, is the amount of food or drink you actually consume in one sitting, whether an entire rack of ribs or an apple. 

The goal of this guide is to help you match your portions to recommended serving sizes.

1 cup of quinoa for serving sizes australia and weight loss

A standard serve of ½ cup (75 – 120g) of cooked quinoa, rice or pasta and is the amount that fits in one cupped palm.

Quinoa is gluten-free and high in protein which will help you feel fuller for longer. Including quality protein sources into your everyday meals supports weight loss and a healthy metabolism.

1/4 cup of granola and serving sizes

Granola is best used as a topping or mixed in with cereal, instead of eaten by the bowl-full. A little goes a long way. Be careful with the serving sizes on the granola box.

1/4 cup (30gs) of granola is about the thumb size in medium adult hand.

dried fruit and serving size

1 serving of dried fruit or nuts is 30 grams, which is about the size of a thumb of a medium adult hand. Similar to granola, it’s best to spread this throughout the day or add it to a flaky cereal or a healthy trail mix. Also, avoid dried fruit that contains added sugar –– it’s best to save those calories.

fresh fruit and serving size

One medium piece of fresh fruit is about the size of a small fist and is about 150g. Aim for 2 serves of fruit per day — and since dried fruit is so calorie-dense, opt for fresh first.

1 cup of leafy green and serving size

A serving of leafy greens is technically 1 cup, but this is one time where we recommend doubling or tripling the portion — 2 cups is about what two medium adult hands can pick up in a single go.

Non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. 

1/2 cup of chopped, non-starchy vegetables is a fist a medium adult hand.

serving size of cheese and weight loss

A serving of cheese is about the size of your index finger or 4 dice. Most servings (40g) are around 150–165 calories, so a little goes a long way. Adding just a slice or nibble of real cheese to your diet can be a great source of calcium. Cut into slices or shred and add to a salad.

cup of milk and serving size

Depending on what variety you buy — skim, reduced-fat or whole — 1 cup of milk provides anywhere from 90–145 calories. In an average-size glass (not a tall and skinny one), 1 cup measures about the size of a small fist.

serving size of chicken and weight loss

A 85 gram piece of fish, poultry or meat is about the size of a deck of cards or the whole palm of your hand. Focus on lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, seafood or lean cuts of beef and pork.

'In my experience many people estimate their energy needs and the daily calorie intake inaccurately,' Dr Wuth said "This is not their fault! Many are not trained or don't know how many calories their bodies need at rest.'

There's a big consequence to eating more than we think: two-thirds of Australian adults are now overweight or obese. 

Dr Wuth suggested that booking in with a prescribing Doctor to understand how many calories your body needs at rest and to keep a track of how much you're eating (the easiest way to this is via an app like MyFitnessPal, which automatically tallies up your calories), or seeing a Doctor for expert medical advice.

Use these guides to determine how much to eat, not how much you’re served. Being able to assess servings and the portion sizes you want visually is a big help when you’re trying to lose weight, especially when it’s time to eat out.

You can also take a look at the fresh and healthy range of ready-made Doctor’s approved weight loss meals which are portioned and calorie controlled to help you achieve your weight loss goals and change your habits.

The Doc's portion and calorie controlled meals are now available across Australia including, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Darwin and everywhere in between! If you're serious about losing weight, we'd also recommend checking in with a Doctor to accelerate your weight and fat loss! Find out more here.

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