Do you know your portion sizes? How to tell what counts as a portion for fruit and veg, plus other popular foods

Do you know what counts as one of your five-a-day?

portion sizes

Being mindful of portion sizes is the key to weight loss, but often, no one is quite sure how much we're actually meant to be putting on our plates.

We're all guilty of pouring a fraction too much pasta in the pan for dinner, or helping ourselves to a few squares too many of chocolate as we relax on the sofa in the evening. So do you know what scientifically counts as a 'portion', and how much should we be eating of each food?

Read on below to find out, and it could very well clear up all of your confusion...

Which foods count as one of your five-a-day?

Yes, we all know that we should be eating our five portions of vegetables, fruit and salad everyday, but short of shovelling another piece of lettuce into our salad, it can be hard to squeeze in those much-needed healthy foods. And with a 2012 study from the World Cancer Research Fund reporting that only one in five of us get our five-a-day, it's clear that most of us are pretty terrible at doing so. But did you know that it's actually much easier to get in those all-important nutrients than you think?

Generally, your fist equals one portion of fruit and vegetable. But let's get a bit more specific. Just 5cm of cucumber counts as one of your five-a-day while, remarkably, half a tin of spaghetti hoops could also help you towards filling your quota!

Plus, what are the correct portion sizes?

A normal sized dental floss = 30g piece of chocolate Next time you tuck into a chocolate bar, remember a 30g serving is only 4 squares and the same size as a packet of dental floss. Put the Twix down or half it.

portion sizes

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

A cheque book = serving of fish To make sure you are getting the correct amount of omega 3's and not going over your calorie count, the fish in your supper should be around the same size as your cheque book.

portion sizes

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

A CD or DVD disc = one pancake Whether you serve them up hot, cold, scotch or American style, pancakes are fast becoming a one of our favourite brunch-time treats. Rustle one up no bigger than a CD disc if you are making them at home.

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

A golf ball = 2 tbsp (30ml) of jam Although we're deep into winter, we're craving some semblance of a sunny spring day - and so our attention has already turned to our favourite homemade jam recipes. But before you load your scones remember a golf ball sized amount is the equivalent to the recommended 2 tbsp.

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

A computer mouse = A jacket potato When choosing a baked potato for lunch envision your computer mouse. The closest match wins!

A tennis ball = 1 cup of pasta or serving of ice cream A tennis ball is exactly the same size as a cup of pasta and a serving of ice cream.

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

A deck of playing cards = A serving of cooked meat Surprisingly a serving of cooked meat should be no larger than a deck of playing cards. -Nutritionists advise opting for smaller cuts and shredding your meat to make it go further. We'll be adding ours to a tasty salad.

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))


Lauren is deputy editor at woman& in the UK and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has worked on the woman&home brand for four years. Before woman&home Lauren worked across a variety of women's lifestyle titles, including GoodTo, Woman's Own, and Woman magazine. After starting out working for a local paper in Yorkshire, her journalism career took her to Bristol where she hunted out stories for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant.

Lauren loves helping people share their stories, bringing experiences to life online, honing her interview techniques with everyone from authors to celebrities, headteachers to local heroes. As well as having a good nose for a story, Lauren has a passion for the English language and years of experience optimizing digital content to reach the widest audience possible. During her time at w&h, Lauren has worked on big brand campaigns like the Amazing Women Awards and assisted in developing w&h expert-approved Buyer's Guides—the place to go if you're looking to splash out on an important purchase and want some trusted advice. In addition to her journalism career, Lauren also has a background in copywriting for prestigious brands such as Inhabit Hotel, eco-development K'in in Tulum, social enterprise The Goldfinger Factory and leading London architect Holland Harvey, using language in all its glorious forms, from detailed guidebooks to snappy social content. 

A big fan of adventure, Lauren is also a keen travel writer and loves sharing tips on where to find the best places to eat, drink, and be merry off the beaten track. Lauren has written a series of travel guides for London hotels and loves sharing her insights into a destination's cultural and culinary offerings. If you need a recommendation on any UK destination, she's more than happy to help. At the weekend, you'll usually find her hanging out with her pet cat (or anyone else's pet she can get her hands on), escaping to the countryside, or devouring a good book. 

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