Welcome to Stellenbosch University

​​​​The Nutrition Information Centr​e ​​of the 
University of Stellenbosch​ (NICUS)

Food and guidelines for healthy eating

Menus And Meal Examples

Portion/Food Unit Guide​​


A portion is the amount of food that a person eats of one food at one time. Members of the same family may have different portion sizes of some foods, e.g. active men will have a bigger portion of starchy food than women, but they will all have the same portion size of vegetables. A single portion of food may have one or more units (food guide units) that are eaten at one time.

Unit / food guide unit

A unit of food within a food group is calculated based on the nutritional value of the food, and this amount is then stated. Thus a single unit of each food in a food group provides a similar amount of nutrients as other units in that same group. The unit sizes of different foods are described in different ways, for example 1 slice of bread (starchy food), 1 apple (vegetables and fruit) or 1 cup of milk (milk group).

Starchy foods
Bread, brown / white1 slice
Porridge, soft½ cup
Maize meal, dry powder3 heaped tablespoons
Potato1 medium
Rice / pasta, cooked½ cup
Samp / whole grains, cooked½ cup
Breakfast cerealVaries
Cut corn / mealie½ cup
Popcorn, popped, no salt or fat2 cups
Vegetables and fruit
Fresh / frozen vegetables½ cup cooked
Raw leafy vegetables1 cup raw
All fresh fruit1 piece meduim sized fruit
apple, banana
2 pieces meduim sized fruit
apricots, plums
½ piece large sized fruit
½ cup chopped fruit
½ cup fruit juice
2 tablespoons raisins
Dry beans, split peas, lentils, soya
Dry beans, cooked½ cup
Lentils, split peas, cooked½ cup
Soya mince, dry30g
Fish, Chicken, lean meat, eggs
Fish, white1 large piece
Fish, high fat flesh1 small piece
Chicken, no skin1 medium breast
Meat, leansize palm, slice 10mm
Eggs, hens2
Liver, chicken3
Cheeses, yellowcube of 30mm / 40g (match box size)
Milk, maas, yoghurt
Milk, low fat or skim1 cup
Maas, low fat1 cup
Yoghurt, low fat or fat free1 tub, 100ml
Fat, oil
Oil; sunflower, canola, olive oil or other plant oil1 teaspoon
Tub margarine1 teaspoon
Peanut butter1 heaped teaspoon
Sugar; brown or white1 teaspoon
Jam1 heaped teaspoon