What is a Serving?

Updated:Jun 7,2017


You are what you eat. As old-fashioned and corny as it sounds, it’s true. If you don’t feed your body and your mind well, the stress and strain of caregiving can take a much greater toll. Once you start eating right, it will be easier to get your loved one started on some heart-healthy, nutritious habits. Set a goal to take small steps to improve the quality of your diet. You may want to think of starting with a goal to eat 80 percent healthy. You can use the other 20 percent for times when you’re crunched for time and need to find something quickly or an occasional special treat.

You can train yourself to eat right, one food at a time. This list of typical serving or portion sizes is a great start.


fruitsGrains: ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or cooked cereal; 1 oz dry pasta or rice; 1 slice bread; 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal flakes

Vegetables: 1 cup equivalent of vegetables is 1 cup raw vegetable or vegetable juice, 2 cups leafy salad greens

Fruits: 1 cup equivalent is 1 cup fruit or ½ cup of fruit juice (orange juice, etc) or ? cup of a fruit juice blend.

Protein Foods (Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans and Nuts): 1 oz equivalent is 1 oz lean meat, poultry, or seafood; 2 egg whites or 1 egg; ¼ cup cooked beans; 1 Tbsp peanut butter; ½ oz unsalted nuts/ seeds. Note that ¼ cup cooked beans = 1 oz protein equivalent but ½ cup cooked beans = 1 vegetable.

Dairy Foods (Milk, Yogurt and Cheese): 1 cup equivalent is 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1½ oz natural cheese such as cheddar cheese, or 2 oz processed cheese

Another way to think of it

  • One cup of raw leafy vegetables or a baked potato should be about the size of a small fist
  • Three ounces of cooked lean meat or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards
  • A teaspoon of soft margarine is about the size of one die.
  • An ounce and a half of fat-free or low-fat cheese is about the size of four stacked dice.

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This content was last reviewed June 2017 


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