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The British Nutrition Foundation launches food portion sizes to support the Eatwell guide

Added on
17 Jan 2019
The British Nutrition Foundation launches food portion sizes to support the Eatwell guide

Monday, 14th January, saw the launch of the British Nutrition Foundation’s (BNF) practical guide to portion sizes. The guide ‘Find Your Balance’ aims to help consumers understand how much of each food should be consumed and how frequently, thus making the Eatwell guide easier to achieve. The guide uses simple hand and spoon measurements to help us estimate appropriate portions. 

The BNF undertook an extensive review of the scientific evidence and existing portion size recommendations across the globe. This was followed by consumer insight work to identify UK consumers’ understanding of portion sizes and the most helpful presentation format. The ‘Find Your Balance’ guide aims to help adult consumers meet both macro and micronutrient needs as recommended by the Eatwell guide. 

The practical advice provides consumers with easy to use household measures based on spoons and hands and uses as its basis the Eatwell guide and food groups.

The BNF has developed three colourful resources:

  1. A fridge poster which provides an overview of the advice. 
  2. A booklet providing more practical details and how it helps meet dietary recommendations. 
  3. A digital downloadable extensive list of foods and their portion.


The BNF’s resources also tackle food portions for pre-packed foods and ready meals, thus providing a guide that is practical for all.

The BNF’s recommended portions per food group: 

  • Fruit and vegetables – 5+ portions per day
  • Starchy carbohydrates – 3-4 portions per day
  • Protein foods – 2-3 portions per day
  • Dairy and alternatives – 2-3 portions per day
  • Unsaturated oils and spreads – small amounts

The handy measures



Some examples from the BNF guide


Bridget Benelam, Nutrition Communications Manager at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: “More often than not, portion size is not something people give much thought to. The amount we put on our plate typically depends on the portion sizes we are used to consuming, how hungry we feel and how much is offered as a helping at a restaurant table or in a packet/ready meal. Nonetheless, in order to maintain a healthy weight we should ensure that our diets contain the right balance of foods, in sensible amounts. This isn’t just about eating less; it’s also about eating differently.

Visit the BHF website to find out more information and download all their resources.

The coverage since the launch has resulted in many more groups such as the BBC, producing some further visual graphics.

· BBC News - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-46843832/healthy-eating-what-is-a-correct-food-portion

· The Sun - https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8187843/weight-loss-perfect-portion-size-hand/ 

The guide was developed by the BNF in collaboration with a panel of expert scientists and financially funded by  Alpro, Asda, Associated British Foods, Mars, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Tetrapak and Waitrose & Partners.