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What Serving Sizes Look Like

What Does a Serving Size Look Like?

Since we're living in the age of enormous super-sized portions, bottomless this, and all-you-can-eat that, we've really lost sight of what an actual serving size is. And for those of us trying to lose or maintain our weight, we know we need to tone down our portion sizes, but what does that look like on our plate? These visual reminders should help.

Food One Serving Equals . . .
Breads, pasta, cereal, cooked grain, etc.
  • One slice of bread (size of CD case)
  • Half a bagel (size of a hockey puck)
  • One-cup cereal (two hands cupped together)
  • Half-cup cooked grain or pasta (one cupped palm)
Fruits
  • One piece of fruit (size of a tennis ball)
  • Half-cup cut-up fruit, raw, cooked, frozen, or canned (size of seven cotton balls)
  • One-quarter cup dried fruit
  • Three quarters cup 100 percent fruit juice
Veggies
  • Half cup cut up veggie, raw, cooked, frozen, or canned (looks like the bulb part of a lightbulb)
  • Half-cup cooked, canned or frozen legumes
  • One-cup leafy greens
  • Three quarters cup 100 percent vegetable juice
Meat, chicken, or fish
  • Three ounces (palm of your hand, deck of cards, or checkbook)
  • One egg
Dairy
  • One ounce of cheese (size of one thumb)
  • Half-cup ice cream, cottage cheese, or pudding
  • One-cup milk or yogurt
Nuts
  • One-third cup (small handful)
  • One-tablespoon nut butter (size of both your thumbs)
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Join The Conversation
SaraNoH SaraNoH 4 years
I agree with what the few sensible people have said here: this chart does not mean: eat ONE, and only ONE, serving of each. Of course not! That's ridiculous! would you only eat 1 cup of leafies for a salad and call it a day on veggies? No way! It's ok to eat more than one serving of something at a time (hello, sandwiches?)
The-Italian-Jem The-Italian-Jem 7 years
I know this is an old post, but I have to correct "nobama" cravinsugar. Grams are a measurement of weight, cup is a measure of size (volume). A cup of marshmallows and a cup of nuts do not have the same weight, or grams. P.S. I'm so excited for the Inauguration!
JGinAZ JGinAZ 7 years
The idea is not to eat one serving of pasta and that's your meal - it's a guideline so that you maybe eat two servings of pasta for lunch or dinner, but you know that you are consuming two servings. The problem is that many Americans have distorted ideas about what is considered a portion. The food guide pyramid is designed to give people plenty of calories (I believe it is based on 2,000 calories a day). You just have to learn to understand what you are eating. If you think that a plateful of pasta is a serving, you probably are consuming way more carbs than you need. The food pyramid allows for plenty of servings, and the assumption is not that you only eat one serving per meal. You could eat a two-serving dish of pasta with tomato sauce (probably around one serving of vegetables, maybe half a serving or so of protein if you add meat), a green salad with light or non-creamy dressing (easily two servings of veggies), a piece of bread (one serving of carbs) and a glass of milk (one of dairy) and you have a balanced dinner. With somewhere around 10-12 servings of carbs to work with, that leaves plenty for breakfast, lunch, and snacks! The key is eating the right combination of foods -- that is where serving sizes come in. And if you're like me and LOVE things like pasta, just eat whole-grain pasta and it is a lot better for you - not empty calories, but good calories!
Dezarea Dezarea 7 years
if i ate like this i would starv to death in less than a week.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
Alytta: Check out this link http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/gram_calc.htm there are 229.92 grams in a cup! :-)
Allytta Allytta 8 years
how many gr is a cup? i've been asking that for ages... or oz or whatever mesurement. i combed this whole site and didn't find the answer.
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 8 years
Well, there's a difference between a serving in the caloric sense and a serving in the meal sense. I think this has more to do with equating a portion size to the numbers you see on the side of the package.
EllaBella EllaBella 8 years
I meant to write "as much veggies as you want as long as"
EllaBella EllaBella 8 years
You can eat as much veggies as they are cooked natural (steamed, boiled, braised or grilled)and without fatty sauces. Fruits are ok but they do contain sugar so you shouldn't eat more fruit than veggies.
ohmondieu ohmondieu 8 years
You'd have to have seriously large hands to eat according to this list!nThere is no way I could eat a meal consisting of a handful of pasta. Else i might have the definition of serving size wrong...
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 8 years
I heard that too baby chloe.
Babychloe Babychloe 8 years
I'd always heard that a serving size of meat should be no bigger than your fist. Of course that would be different for everyone.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 8 years
I'm with cravin! Can't I just eat my heart out on veggies?
marygrace marygrace 8 years
i agree with aimeeb. just keep your diet relatively healthy, eating when you are hungry until you are satisfied, and you'll be fine. trying to incorporate these specific serving measurements into my diet would make me feel sort of neurotic.
jkat jkat 8 years
Is it just me, or is a checkbook way bigger than a deck of cards? How can they both be a meat serving size? Does it include the same thickness as these items? That would make sense then...
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Great information. I think as long as you're eating healthy and not over indulging I don't think measuring exact serving sizes are nessesary.
nikodarling nikodarling 8 years
Cravinsugar - I think that veggies would be an indulgence. I think most time the charts give you serving sizes of veggies because most people don't eat enough. If you want to fill up on fat free, salt free veggies indulge away.
EllasMom EllasMom 8 years
Yeah, cravinsugar. If you are eating raw fruits and vegetables without any extras, should you limit yourself?
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
I have a question! IS it important to follow serving sizes of veggies? If they don't have the added fats from butter, or added salt, shouldn't that be a total indulgence?
SummerBaby SummerBaby 8 years
hmmm i would like to say i could eat like this.. but i dont think i could!
jadyn428 jadyn428 8 years
I would def go hungry , but I think its a good system to use.Especially with breads,dairy,etc!
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