The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend the number of ‘standard serves’ we should consume from the five core food groups each day, for a nutritious and balanced diet.
The recommended intake amounts differ for each age and gender. Click here to see the recommended intakes.
The size of a ‘standard serve’ can be different for different foods, and some sizes have changed since the 2003 guidelines. Continue reading to find out how much is a ‘standard serve’ of your favourite foods.
Standard serves of each food group
The following images have been sourced from http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/serve-sizes
One serve of ‘discretionary’ food or drinks is 600kJ, which is the equivalent of 2 scoops of ice cream, 1/3 of a meat pie or only a few squares of chocolate.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting our intake of discretionary choices, as they are not part an essential part of a nutritious diet. Nutrition Australia advises limiting your intake of discretionary choices to a maximum of one serve per day (approx. 600kJ).
The difference between standard serves, serve sizes and portions
A ‘standard serve’ might be different to the amount of food you choose to eat at any given time – this is called a ‘portion’. For example, one standard serve of bread is 1 slice, but you might have 2 slices in a sandwich, which is your portion of bread and 2 ‘standard serves’.
A ‘standard serve’ is also not the same as the ‘serving size’ listed on a packet of food. Those serving sizes are chosen by the food manufacturer and are often not based on any official guidelines or recommendations.
For example the Australian Dietary Guidelines describe a ‘standard serve’ of breakfast cereal as 30g, but the ‘serving size’ on a cereal packet could be 45g, which is 1.5 larger than the ‘standard serve’.
Standard serves have changed
The sizes of ‘standard serves’ in the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines have changed since the 2003 guidelines. So if you were familiar with the previous measurements, we recommend you read the new Guidelines to refresh your knowledge.
In general, the standard serves for foods in the vegetables and legumes, and the ‘lean meats and alternatives’ food groups have changed slightly.
But the most significant change is the standard serve of grain (cereal) food has generally halved. For example, in the 2003 Guidelines one standard serve of bread was 2 slices, but it is now only 1 slice. And the standard serve of cooked rice was 1 cup, but it is now a ½ cup.
This means the total recommended amount of food to consume from the grain (cereal) food group has reduced significantly. Health professionals and consumers need to be aware of this change and alter their dietary advice and/or intake accordingly.
Read more about the Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013.
The key to a balanced diet is to enjoy a variety of foods from the five core food groups, and to limit your intake of foods and drinks that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt.
For more information on healthy eating for you visit here.