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How Much Is One Serving?

Controlling food portions can be an important part of an overall plan to help you eat healthy and manage weight.

The Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods shows the size of one serving. This information can help you stick to recommended daily servings. But many good-for-you foods don’t come with a Nutrition Facts label. That’s why it’s helpful to become familiar with what one serving of different foods should look like.

Test It!

Measure out 1 cup, 1/2 cup, or 1 ounce of some different foods into the bowls, glasses, cups, and plates you usually use. It’s a good way to see what these serving sizes look like. Or serve yourself what you typically eat or drink. Then measure it to see what size portions you’ve been having. This will help you be more aware of serving sizes and make healthy choices.

Fruits and Vegetables

Try to have five or more servings of fruits and veggies every day. Making half your plate different colored fruits and vegetables is a good way to get those servings. One serving looks like:

  • 1 medium whole fruit, such as apple, plum, or peach = tennis ball
  • 1 cup veggies, such as broccoli or carrots = baseball
  • 1/2 cup raw, canned, or frozen fruit = billiard ball
  • 1 cup leafy greens = 2 baseballs
  • 1 ounce dried fruit = golf ball

Grains

Aim for making half your grains whole grains. One serving looks like:

  • 1/2 cup cooked rice or oatmeal = bulb part of light bulb
  • 1 cup whole wheat cereal flakes = baseball
  • 1 whole wheat pancake = DVD
  • 1/2 bagel =  hockey puck
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta = computer mouse 

Dairy

Choose lower fat dairy options when possible. One serving looks like:

  • 1/2 cup frozen yogurt or cottage cheese = half a baseball
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese = baseball
  • 1 ounce cheese = 3 stacked dice
  • 1 teaspoon butter = postage stamp

Protein

Aim for leaner sources of protein and add variety with beans and fish. One serving looks like:

  • 3 ounces cooked meat, such as beef or chicken = bar of soap
  • Ground hamburger patty = hockey puck
  • 3 ounces fish = checkbook
  • 1/2 cup cooked beans, such as black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas = baseball
  • 1 ounce nuts = about 28 peanuts, or 14 shelled walnut halves, or 45 pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or other nut butters = ping pong ball

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