How much should I be eating?

How much should I be eating serves food groups

How much should I be eating?

Info on the serve numbers and sizes for each of the food groups for Australian adults.

A free resource.

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I receive a lot of questions about how much we should eat of each of the food groups for good health.  Everyone is different, we are different shapes and sizes, some are more active than others, some a growing still, and some have health issues which impact on their needs.  So ideally you will see a dietitian for specific advice tailored to your needs and what your desired outcomes.

The list below is from the Australian Dietary Guidelines and will give you a baseline to start from as far as healthy eating goes.  I’ve provided information for both men and women based on different age groups.  If you are very active you will need more – check out my programs for individualised advice.

Recommendations for women:
Vegetables

5 serves everyday – all ages

1 serve = 75g of vegetables or 1 cup of salad or 1/2 cup of cooked vegies, lentils or legumes or 1 medium tomato or 1/2 medium potato

Vegies contain lots of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibre and are low in kilojoules. Starchy vegies like potato and sweet potato contain carbohydrates and are low in sugars. Legumes and lentils contain both carbs and protein – bonus!

Fruit

2 serves everyday – all ages

1 serve = 150g or 1 average apple, orange, banana or pear or 2 small fruit such as mandarins, apricot, plums or kiwi fruit, or 1 cup of fruit salad, or 30g of dried fruit or 125mL (1/2 cup) fruit juice with no added sugar.

Fruit are a great source of vitamins such as vitamin C and folate, as well as potassium, fibre and carbohydrates in the form of intrinsic (not added) sugars.

Grains

6 serves everyday for 19-50 year olds and 4 serves everyday for 51-70 year olds

1 serve = a 40g slice of bread or half a roll, 1/2 cup of cooked porridge, rice, pasta, quinoa, noodles, barley, polenta or bulgur, or 2/3 cup (30g) of a wheat flake cereal or 1/4 cup (30g) muesli, or 3 (35g) crackers.

Grains are a wonderful source of fibre and B group vitamins, some contain small amounts of iron, zinc and magnesium, while they provide carb for energy – choose low GI (glycaemic index) or grainy products for long lasting energy.  Some grains are also a source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.

Dairy and plant alternatives

2 1/2 serves everyday for 19-50 year olds and 4 serves everyday for 51-70 year old women

1 serve = 1 cup (250mL) cow’s milk or calcium fortified (at a rate of about 125mg of calcium/100mL milk) plant based milk or 40g hard yellow cheese, 1/2 cup (120g) ricotta, 200g yoghurt, 100g firm or hard tofu (set with calcium salts), or calcium fortified soy yoghurt.

Calcium – needed for strong bones and muscle health, as well as protein, iodine, vitamins A and D, vitamins B2 and B12 and zinc are particularly found in dairy products and their plant based alternatives.

Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes

2 1/2 serves everyday for women 19-50 years old and 2 serves for 51-70 year olds.

1 serve = 30g nuts, seeds or nut/seed butters, or 170g tofu or tempeh, 1 cup (150g) cooked legumes or lentils (drained), 2 large eggs, 100g of cooked fish (115g raw weight), 80g cooked poultry (100g raw weight), or 65g cooked red meat (90g raw weight).

This group is your primary source of protein, they also supply iodine, iron and zinc as well as some fats.  The plant-based proteins have plenty of good fats and phytonutrients. Fish and seafood contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Fats

2 serves everyday for all women

1 serve = 10g of a margarine spread, 10g of nuts, seeds or their buttters, or 7g of oil.

Sources of these monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils and margarines like olive oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, rice bran oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, tahini, olives and avocados.  These healthy fats contain vitamins A, D and E as well as being a source of energy.

And for the men in your life:
Vegetables

6 serves everyday for 19-50 year olds and 5 1/2 serves each day for 51-70 year olds

Fruit

2 serves everyday for all ages

Grains

6 serves everyday for all men 19-70 years old

Dairy and plant alternatives

2 1/2 serves everyday for all men aged 19-70 years

Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes

3 serves for men aged 19-50 and 2 1/2 serves for those aged 51-70 years

Fats

4 serves each day for all men aged 19-70 years

Remember, we all have different preferences, different needs, and are at different points in our lives so if you can’t put these recommendations together, contact Dale for individualised advice.

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