Serve sizes

What is a serve of vegetables?

A standard serve is about 75g (100–350kJ) or:

  • ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin)
  • ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils (preferably with no added salt)
  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava)
  • 1 medium tomato

What is a serve of fruit?

A standard serve is about 150g (350kJ) or:

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar)

Or only occasionally:

  • 125ml (½ cup) fruit juice (no added sugar)
  • 30g dried fruit (for example, 4 dried apricot halves, 1½ tablespoons of sultanas)

What is a serve of grain* (cereal) food?

A standard serve is (500kJ) or:

  • 1 slice (40g) bread
  • ½ medium (40g) roll or flat bread
  • ½ cup (75-120g) cooked rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur or quinoa
  • ½ cup (120g) cooked porridge
  •  ²/³ cup (30g) wheat cereal flakes
  • ¼ cup (30g) muesli
  • 3 (35g) crispbreads
  • 1 (60g) crumpet
  • 1 small (35g) English muffin or scone

*Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties

How much is a serve of lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans?

A standard serve is (500–600kJ):

  • 65g cooked lean red meats such as beef, lamb, veal, pork, goat or kangaroo (about 90-100g raw)
  • 80g cooked lean poultry such as chicken or turkey (100g raw)
  • 100g cooked fish fillet (about 115g raw) or one small can of fish
  • 2 large (120g) eggs
  • 1 cup (150g) cooked or canned legumes/beans such as lentils, chick peas or split peas (preferably with no added salt)
  • 170g tofu
  • 30g nuts, seeds, peanut or almond butter or tahini or other nut or seed paste (no added salt)*

*Only to be used occasionally as a substitute for other foods in the group (note: this amount for nuts and seeds gives approximately the same amount of energy as the other foods in this group but will provide less protein, iron or zinc).

How much is a serve of milk*, yoghurt*, cheese* and/or alternatives?

A standard serve is (500–600kJ):

  • 1 cup (250ml) fresh, UHT long life, reconstituted powdered milk or buttermilk
  • ½ cup (120ml) evaporated milk
  • 2 slices (40g) or 4 x 3 x 2cm cube (40g) of hard cheese, such as cheddar
  • ½ cup (120g) ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup (200g) yoghurt
  • 1 cup (250ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink with at least 100mg of added calcium per 100ml

*Choose mostly reduced fat

If you do not eat any foods from this group, try the following foods, which contain about the same amount of calcium as a serve of milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives (note: the kilojoule content of some of these serves (especially nuts) is higher so watch this if trying to lose weight).

  • 100g almonds with skin
  • 60g sardines, canned in water
  • ½ cup (100g) canned pink salmon with bones
  • 100g firm tofu (check the label as calcium levels vary)

How many kilojoules are in a serve of each food group?

Not all food groups provide the same number of kilojoules (kJ) per serve.

A serve of the grain (cereals) food group; milks/yoghurt/cheese and /or alternatives group; lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs and/or alternatives group; will provide about 500-600kJ.

About 2 serves of fruit, and from 2 serves (for starchy vegetables) to 5 serves (of green leafy vegetables) of different varieties in the vegetables group will provide about 500-600kJ. This is one reason that it makes good sense to fill up on leafy green and other lower kilojoule vegetables when you are trying to lose weight.

Also, while discretionary food serves can have similar kilojoules (about 600kJ) to a serve of the five food groups, they are usually much smaller and less filling, don’t provide you with the fibre and nutrients you need and contain too much saturated fat, added sugars and added salt for good health.