Food Serving Sizes: A Visual Guide
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Figuring Out Portion Sizes
What you eat is important, especially when it comes to making positive food choices, but how much you eat is the real brainteaser of healthy eating. When you look at the oversize food portions, ranging from the diameter of bagels to mounds of pasta, translating a serving size into portions is a big challenge in a more-is-better world.
The first step is knowing the difference between a portion and a serving size. A serving size is a recommended standard measurement of food. A portion is how much food you eat, which could consist of multiple servings.
Visually comparing a serving size to an everyday object you have at home, such as a baseball or a shot glass, can be helpful in identifying what a serving size looks like without carting around a scale and measuring cups for every meal and snack. Here are some general guidelines for the number of daily servings from each food group*:
- Grains and starchy vegetables: 6-11 servings a day
- Nonstarchy vegetables: 3-5 servings a day
- Dairy: 2-4 servings a day
- Lean meats and meat substitutes: 4-6 ounces a day or 4-6 one-ounce servings a day
- Fruit: 2-3 servings a day
- Fats, oils, and sweets: Eat sparingly
*Check with your doctor or dietitian to determine the appropriate daily recommendations for you.