Using food portions

Published on 23 November 2022

An inographic about food portions using hands to show portion size.

This November, our Waste Minimisation Officer is talking about food waste, looking at a different tip each week.

Every year the average family in New Zealand throws away $644 of food that could have been eaten. Through simple everyday tips and tricks, we can do our bit to reduce our household food waste.

This week’s tip is about portioning.

Food portions

In New Zealand, we waste a lot of food because we cook too much, and it can be difficult to know how much to cook – especially foods like rice and pasta. But cooking just the right amount of food for you and your family is an easy way to reduce food waste.

How much each person needs to eat can vary, so use this handy guide to give you a rough estimate:

  • Protein (meat) should be the size and thickness of the palm of your hand.
  • Carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, rice, etc.) should be equivalent to the size of your clenched fist.
  • Vegetables and salad should equal two cupped hands.
  • Fats (cheese, dressing, etc.) should be the size of your thumb.

What to do with leftover food?

If you do accidentally cook too much, take it for lunch the next day or use it up in a leftover recipe.

Remember the 2:2:2 rule for leftovers – you have 2 hours to get it into the fridge, 2 days to eat it, and it will last around 2 months in the freezer.

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