Healthy eating habits/Researching Nutritional Information & Australian Serving Sizes

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Nutritional Information

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Nutritional information is expanding every day and is being more readily accessed as technology is advancing. There are a variety of internet sources and more recently mobile "apps" that provide nutritional material to the general public. However some sources of nutritional information can contain material that may or may not be reliable and accurate.


On The Internet

There are many websites that present nutritional information however there are only some which contain credible sources of information. A credible source of information is evidence-based, validated, and up to date [1] [2]. It’s important to check that the web page has:

  • a credible author (origin of work, qualification, credentials)
  • trustworthy references and citations
  • a date of publication
  • site functionality (ease of use, current and functional links)
  • domain on the web address

These are three examples of the domains of websites that are considered more reliable [2] [3] (The domains of websites are found on the website links eg.

  • .edu websites – educational institution
  • .gov websites – government agency
  • .org websites* – non-profit organization

These types of domains are frequently used by health professionals in hospitals, universities and government agencies to gather and provide information to the public. These websites contain accurate science based material which ensure the reliability of the nutritional information.

Note: Validating sources of information to ensure correct material is an important skill. Although websites may contain the .org, .edu and .gov domains there may still be incorrect information and verifying this information with other credible websites is important.

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Apps on mobile devices

Apps, which is short for applications, are small downloadable programs on mobile devices that can be used for entertainment, educational or for social purposes. Many nutrition apps exist and are used frequently in the present time. Validating the database and source of nutritional information on the app helps to determine the accuracy of the nutritional information. These are a few examples of apps that are efficient and reliable for use:

  • Food Switch - (made by Bupa and the data has been collated from The George Institute[4]). The app provides easy-to-understand nutritional information about packaged foods and provides the user with healthier food alternatives, gluten free alternatives and healthier salt alternatives. This app allows you to scan barcodes on food products and make informed choices when purchasing foods.
  • Better Health Channel App (provided by the Better Health Channel and the Victorian government) [5]. This app provides general health advice, health service options, treatments and healthy living suggestions.
  • Foodle - Nutrition Facts (provided by the USDA National Nutrient Database [6]) lets users discover the micronutrient and macronutrient content in various types of foods.
  • 8700 (produced by the NSW Food Authority [7] [8]) is an app that provides fun facts about nutrition and calculates total daily energy requirements. It also provides information about kilojoules (KJ), the amount of energy exerted while performing activities and nutrition information about fast foods outlets in Australia.

Australian Serving Sizes

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The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide up-to-date information about the recommended types of foods that need to be consumed for health and well-being. [9]. The food types reflect everyday foods consumed by Australians and this helps to ensure that the serving sizes supply sufficient nutrients to our diets. To help understand how serving sizes and nutrient reference values (daily nutrient requirements) [10] provide adequate micro and macronutrients, view the video of Calcium Man as a guide.

1 medium tomato = 1 serve 1 cup of salad vegetables = 1 serve 1/2 cup of orange and green vegetables = 1 serve
1 medium orange = 1 serve of fruit1 medium apple = 1 serve of fruit1 medium banana = 1 serve of fruit
1 (65g) cooked steak = 1 serve2 large eggs (120g total) = 1 serve
1 (40g) slice of bread = 1 serves of grains & cereals1/2 cup rice = 1 serves of grains & cereals
Milk glass

Recommended Daily Serves [11]
A 'serve' is a fixed food amount set by the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Below are the serve recommendations for adult male and females.

Adult Male Adult Female
Vegetables 6 5
Fruit 2 2
Meat 3 2.5
Cereal/Grains 6 6
Dairy 2.5 2.5

Serving Sizes[11]
Below are standard serving sizes for each food group.

One Vegetable Serve (75g) (100-350KJ) One Fruit Serve (150g) (350KJ) One Meat Serve (500-600KJ) One Cereal/Grain Serve (500KJ) One Dairy Serve (500-600KJ)
1/2 cup of green or orange vegetables 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear 65g cooked lean red meat 1 slice(40g) slice bread 1 cup (250ml) fresh/UHT long life/reconstituted powdered/butter milk
1/2 cup cooked/dried/canned/ beans, peas, corn or lentils 2 small fruits (apricots, kiwi, plums) 80g cooked lean poultry 1/2 medium(40g) roll or flat bread 1/2 cup (120ml) evaporated milk
1 cup green leafy or salad vegetables 1 cup diced/canned fruit 100g cooked fish fillet 1/2 cup (75-120g)cooked rice, pasta, noodles or grain 2 slices (40g) hard cheese (cheddar)
1 medium tomato Or occasionally 2 large (120g total) eggs 1/2 cup(120g) cooked porridge 1/2 cup (120g) ricotta
1/2 medium starchy vegetable (potatoes) 125ml (1/2 cup) fruit juice 1 cup cooked/canned beans, legumes or beans (peas, chickpeas, lentils) 2/3 cup (30g) wheat cereal flakes 3/4 cup (200g) yoghurt
30g dried fruit 170g tofu 1/4 cup (30g) muesli 1 cup (250ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink with minimum 100mg of added calcium/100g
30g nuts, seeds or nut/seed paste 3(35g) crispbreads
1(60g) crumpet
1 small(35g) english muffin or scone

Further Reading & Notes

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  1. University of Maryland University Libraries. (2013). Evaluating web sites. Retrieved from
  2. a b UNC Asheville Ramsey Library . (2013). Evaluating web information. Retrieved from
  3. Univeristy of Illinois at Urban-Champaign University Library . (2012). Evaluating internet sources. Retrieved from
  4. Bupa. (2013). Foodswitch. Retrieved from
  5. Better Health Channel. (2012). Better health channel iphone and ipad app. Retrieved from
  6. Pomegranate Apps. (2013). Foodle. Retrieved from
  7. NSW Government. (2012). 8700 find your ideal figure. Retrieved from
  8. NSW Food Authority. (2012). 8700kJ app proving popular with consumers. Retrieved from
  9. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). The guidelines. Retrieved from
  10. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Nutrient Reference Values. Retrieved from
  11. a b National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). (2013). Eat for health Australian dietary guidelines summary. Retrieved from: