The difference in calories for small, medium & large food portions – Infruition

The difference in calories for small, medium & large food portions

We know that when you dine out you want to see value for money with your food.  We ALL do!! And we’re not just referring to fast-food.   It’s common to be presented with different sizes for everything: “Would that be a small, medium or large sir/madam?”. Okay – maybe that’s not so realistic since we can’t remember how long it’s been since we’ve been called that, and Starbucks likes to give us completely new names (!), but you get the gist.

We understand that people are willing to pay more for larger sizes, but in this blog, we expose the impact this has on your calorie intake – and you can decide If it’s worth it!*


1) Costa Hot Chocolate

  • A small cup holds 340ml - costs £2.40 – and contains 452 calories.
  • A medium cup holds 450ml - costs £2.70 – and contains 585 calories.
  • A large cup holds 560ml - costs £2.90 – and contains a whopping 728 calories.

So for an extra 50p - you are adding 268 more calories. Still worth it? Kudos to Costa though, at least they offer us the chance to choose semi-skimmed milk or even Soya as an alternative. Still, we'd rather have a fruit infused water instead - no calories or costs associated with that!

 Costa drinks, small, medium and large


2) POD lunches

We are big fans of POD: their ethos, their lunches, and their ingredients actually seem like their Head Chef cares about the foods going into our bodies!  But, for the sake of this experiment, we wanted to include a broad mix of eateries and not just the ones you might expect. So, we’ve chosen the Thai Green Chicken dish from the lunch menu that is available in small, regular and large.

  • A mini serving is approximately 300gms - costs £3.99 – and contains 386 calories.
  • A regular serving is approximately 480gms -  costs £5.99 – and contains 673 calories.
  • A large serving is approximately 600gms - costs £6.99 – and contains a whopping 833calories.

So – a jump of £4 is also a jump up to 447 calories. Saying that, we know the meal comes with a salad too – and, if it’s your main meal of the day, we can forgive it :).


Pod Thai Green Curry


3) MacDonald’s

We had to include a fast food chain – and sorry to pick on Macdonalds -  but it’s a popular one.  You all know what the results of what this would be though right?!   Many fast food chains who have been on the receiving end of negative media have tried to turn things round by trying to offer some healthier options, so we’ve gone for a middle of the range meal.

  • Chicken Select Meal – 3 pieces, sour cream & chive dip, medium fries, regular milkshake = 379 + 158 + 337 + 359 = 1233 calories at a cost of £4.29
  • Chicken Select Meal – 5 pieces, sour cream & chive dip, large fries, large milkshake = 599 + 158 + 444 + 488 = 1689 calories at a cost of £5.79 

To be honest - even the regular portion is pretty much half of the recommended daily intake - so what more can we say here?!

Macdonalds Meal

4) Pizza Express

Everyone loves Pizza!! How could you not?!   We’ve decided to include Pizza Express Pizza’s because you can eat them out and also buy them from the supermarket.

  • A 9” American (Pepperoni, creamy mozzarella and crushed tomato passata) is 624 calories and costs £4.50
  • A 12” American (Pepperoni, creamy mozzarella and crushed tomato passata) is 906 calories and costs £6

In fairness, chances are that you will share a pizza with others, so the size you buy is likely to be correlated to how many people it will serve. So maybe the difference in calories isn’t tooooooo bad….

Pizza Express Pepperoni Pizza


5) Dessert – one scoop or two?

It’s not often you will get an option for different sizes of desserts in restaurants.  We thought the best way to tackle this was looking at 1, 2 and 3 scoop portion sizes of ice-scream, a staple on most food menus. We investigated Baskin Robbins to see what their delights serve up:

  • One Vanilla ice-cream scoop is 2.5oz/71 grams and comes in at 150 calories and costs £2.99.
  • Two Vanilla ice-cream scoops at 5oz /142 grams and comes in at 300 calories and costs £5.99.
  • Three Vanilla ice-cream scoops at 7.5oz /213 grams and comes in at 450 calories and costs £6.99.
Ice-cream is a treat - so in moderation, consider it the indulgence that it is! ;)

 Icecream Scoops


So that's the end of our analysis! Are there any surprises in here that you didn't realise? Will it make you consider your portion sizes in detail? Everything in moderation we say!


**Please note – whilst we’ve tried our best to get information directly from the source, sometimes we’ve had to look elsewhere across the inter-web.  So, if we’ve made a mistake let us know…. We will be happy to correct any stats!

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