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We have compiled portion control advice from the Australian Dietary Guidelines into one resource.

Download and print it here.
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Did you know?

  • 63% of Australians aged 18 and over are overweight or obese1.
  • An unhealthy diet, is one of the major risk factors for chronic diseases2.
  • Portion sizes have increased dramatically since the early 1970's3.
  • Only 7% of Australia’s adult population eat enough vegetables4.
  • On average we eat almost 19 serves of discretionary foods each week5.
  • Adults need to eat at least 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables each day6.


Portion distortion
Packets, plates and bowls have gradually grown larger, causing our perception of appropriate portion sizes to become distorted3. This has resulted in more kilojoules and a greater total daily energy intake.

Serving size
A set amount defined in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. This amount does not change.

Portion size
How much food you serve yourself and actually consume. A portion could often exceed what the guidelines define as a serve.

Rating Systems

Health Star Rating

Health Star Rating – provides a quick and easy way for them to compare similar packaged foods. The more stars the better!

GI Symbol

GI symbol – is a useful guide to good quality carbohydrate foods.

Portion Control Tips

Healthy Eating Tips

Ditch the salt for herbs and spices

  • Instead of salt, suggest they use spices and herbs to add flavour to their meals.
  • Remove the salt shaker from the dinner table to avoid temptation.

Swap bad for good

  • Use reduced salt or no added salt varieties of sauces, canned foods and stock.
  • Cook with healthy fats e.g. extra virgin olive oil and other nut and seed varieties.
  • Choose wholegrain, high fibre and lower GI foods.

Make it colourful
Suggest they vary their food choices to get all the nutrients they need for good health. The more colourful, the better.

Tell them to go for fish
Adding 2 serves of fish each week - tinned, fresh or frozen fish will ensure they get a good dose of heart healthy fats.

Junk foods
If they’re trying to lose weight – tell them to ditch discretionary foods all together.

Portion Control Tips

Use a smaller plate and make it balanced
Advise your patients to fill half of their plate with colourful vegetables or salad, one quarter with a lean meat and one quarter with a good quality carbohydrate.

Plate up in the kitchen
Suggest patients plate up in the kitchen and put any leftovers away immediately. This will help them avoid additional servings.

Don’t eat directly from the packet
Advise them to pre-portion large packages of food into individual serves.

Point out that restaurant servings can be very large and that sharing a main meal with a couple of sides of veggies and salad is the best option.

Don’t be upsized
When eating out, suggest they order the smallest size available and avoid being tempted by offers to upsize.

Eat mindfully
Advise them to remove distractions like the TV or computer. Suggest they sit down, eat slowly and savour their food – this way they will be more likely to notice their satiety cues and not overeat.

Portion Control Tips

The individual food items shown are representative of approximately one serve


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013, Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-2012
  2. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 
  3. Wansink B, van IttersumK. (2007) Portion size me: downsizing our consumption norms. Journal of the American Dietetic Assoication 107(7): 1103-1106.
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015, Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2014-2015
  5. Hendrie, G., Baird, D., Golley, S., Noakes, M. (2016). CSIRO Healthy Diet Score 2016.
  6. National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. 

About SRAS

The Sugar Research Advisory Service (SRAS) aims to provide an evidence-based view on the role of carbohydrates, and particularly sugar, in nutrition and health. The SRAS provides the latest scientific research and evidence based resources for healthcare professionals.




Portion control, sugars intakes and more 


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Frequently asked questions

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