What’s a Serve?

The table below identifies:


Food groups:

Breads, Cereal, Rice, Pasta, Noodles:

Men: 6 serves/day          Women: 6 serves/day

(1 serve provides 500kJ)

1 slice of bread  
½ medium bread roll  
½ cup cooked rice, pasta or noodles  
½ cup porridge,  ⅔ cup breakfast cereal  



Vegetables, Legumes/Beans:

Men: 6 serves/day                 Women: 5 serves/day

(1 serve provides 100-350kJ)

1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables; or 1 medium tomato  
½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables; or ½ cup dried beans, peas or lentils      
½ medium potato or other starchy vegetable (e.g. sweet potato or taro)       




Men: 2 serves/day                 Women: 2 serves/day

(1 serve provides 350kJ)

1 medium apple, banana, orange, pear  
2 small pieces, e.g. apricots, kiwi fruit, plums  
 1 cup chopped or canned fruit (with no added sugar)  
30g dried fruit (e.g. 1½ tablespoons sultanas; 4 dried apricot halves)  
½ cup 100% juice (no added sugar)  



Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese or alternatives, mostly reduced fat:

Men: 2.5 serves/day                  Women: 2.5 serves/day

(1 serve provides 500-600kJ)

250ml (1 cup) fresh, long-life or reconstituted dried milk; or 250mL (1 cup) calcium-enriched soy or cereal (e.g. rice) beverage  
40g (2 slices) Cheese  
200g (1 small tub, ¾ cup) yoghurt  



Lean Meat and Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Tofu, Nuts and Seeds, Legumes/Beans:

Men: 3 serves/day                Women: 2.5 serves/day

(1 serve provides 500-600kJ)

65g cooked meat (e.g. beef, lamb, pork)  
80g cooked poultry (e.g. chicken or turkey)  
1 cup cooked (dried) beans, lentils, chick peas, split peas; or 170g tofu  
100g cooked fish fillet; or 1 small can of fish  
2 large eggs  
 30g nuts, seeds or nut/seed paste (e.g. peanut butter or tahini – no added sugar or salt)  



Unsaturated Spreads and Oils:

Men: 4 serves/day                Women: 2 serves/day

(1 serve provides 250kJ)

10g (2 teaspoons) polyunsaturated spread             
10g (2 teaspoons) monounsaturated spread              
7g polyunsaturated oil (1½ teaspoons) (e.g. olive or canola oil)                 
10g peanuts/tree nuts (e.g. 8-9 unsalted almonds); or 10g (2 teaspoons) nut pastes/butters   



Discretionary Choices ** :

Men: 0 to 2-3 serves/day                Women: 0 to 2 ½ serves/day

(1 serve provides about 600kJ)

** Discretionary choices are NOT necessary or essential to our diet

Higher Added Sugar Foods

e.g. 1 can (375mL) soft drink; 1 tablespoon (60g) jam/honey;  2 tablespoons sugar; 5-6 (40g) small lollies

Higher Saturated Fat Foods

e.g. 2 slices (50-60g) processed meats, salami or mettwurst; 1 ½ thick  or 2 thin regular sausages; 1/4 (60g) meat pie or pastie; 2 tablespoons (40g) cream; 1 tablespoon (20g) butter; 12 (60g) fried hot chips;   ½ snack size packet (30g) salty crackers or crisps

Higher Saturated Fat and Added Sugars Foods

e.g. 2 scoops (75g) ice-cream;  2 -3 (35g) sweet biscuits; 1 (40g) doughnut; 1 slice (40g) plain cake or small cake-type muffin

High Alcohol Items

e.g. 200mL wine; 60mL spirits; 600mL light beer; 400mL regular beer




Adjusting Serves to Different Ages and Levels of Physical Activity

The amount of food you, your partner/spouse, or other family members need will vary with age, the amount of physical activity individual people do, and for women if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. We have based these menus on providing around 8700 kilojoules each day – that is approximately the amount of food an adult with a low level of physical activity will need to maintain a healthy weight and good health. If you would like to check the how the number of serves from each food group that people will need each day may vary with their age, gender, and level of physical activity go to the Australian Dietary Guidelines.