How Much Is 1 Serving?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

image of different Serving sizes

Feeling like following the recommendations for healthy eating will have you tackling a mountain of broccoli? Not sure what “1 cup” of cereal looks like (and measuring your cereal every morning won’t fit into your routine)? Heard the news that over-sized bagels pack a mean punch with calories? Here are some general guidelines for what 1 serving looks like:

Recommended Serving Sizes

Fruits and Veggies

More matters! Aim for 5 or more servings of fruits and veggies each day. Making ½ your plate fruits and veggies is a good way to get more of the good stuff.

  • 1 medium fruit = baseball

  • 1 cup of strawberries = about 12 berries

  • 2 cups of salad greens = 2 baseballs

  • 1 cup of carrots = about 12 baby carrots

  • 1 cup 100% fruit or vegetable juice


Aim for making 1/2 your grains whole grains.

  • 1/2 cup rice or oatmeal (cooked) = light bulb

  • 1 cup whole wheat cereal flakes = baseball

  • 1 whole wheat pancake = compact disc

  • Bagel = size of a 6 oz. can of tuna


Aim for lower fat dairy options whenever possible.

  • 1/2 cup frozen yogurt or ice cream = light bulb

  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese

  • 1 cup milk or yogurt = baseball

  • 1 1/2 oz. of cheese = 3 stacked dice 


Aim for leaner sources of protein and add variety with beans and fish.

  • 1/2 cup beans (e.g., black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas)

  • 3 oz. meat or chicken = deck of cards

  • 1/4 cup nuts = about 22 to 25 nuts (e.g., almonds, pistachios)

  • 2 tbsp. of peanut or other nut butters = golf ball

Try This! Measure out 1 cup, 1/2 cup, or 1 ounce of some different foods into the bowls, glasses, cups, and plates you usually use to see what these portion sizes look like on them. Or serve yourself what you would typically eat or drink and then measure it out to see what your portions have been like. This will help you to be more aware of portion sizes and make healthier choices. Check out 6 Tips for Managing Portion Size for more suggestions.

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