Eating choices: what is a serving?
The official guidelines suggest how many servings should be eaten per day from each food group. The recommendations are expressed as ranges, to cater for different energy needs.
The lower number in each group found in the below table applies to people with low energy requirements, such as older adults and sedentary people; the higher number in each group is appropriate for teenage boys, active men, and very active women.
Servings versus portions
You may wonder whether these servings are the same size as the food portions served at home or in restaurants. They are not. Recommended servings are of a fixed, standard quantity, while portion sizes are variable. However, many people tend to eat particularly large portions of food and as a consequence have high rates of obesity.
It is a good idea to start thinking of food portions in terms of these standard serving sizes because this will help you maintain a healthy weight and eat less if you are trying to lose weight.
|Food group||Daily servings||What is one serving?|
|Bread, cereal, rice, pasta, and potatoes||5–14 servings||
|Vegetables||2–3 servings (as part of the min 5-a-day)||
|Fruit||2–3 servings (as part of the min 5-a-day)||
|Milk, yogurt, and cheese||2–3 servings||
|Meat, poultry, fish, pulses, nuts, seeds, and eggs||2–3 servings||
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