The Portion Distortion GuideA List of Serving Sizes
-- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor & Health Educator
Selecting the right foods also means choosing portions that are proper serving sizes. The terms "portion" and "serving" are often used interchangeably, but they don't mean the same thing.
A "portion" is the amount of food you choose to eat for meals or snacks (like a plateful of pasta or a handful of raisins). In comparison a "serving" is the amount of food that experts recommend you eat (like 1 cup of milk or 1 ounce of bread). Servings are listed on a food's nutrition facts label too.
When choosing your portion, try to make it as close as possible to these recommended serving sizes.
Grains: Aim for 6-11 servings each day. Choose whole grains whenever possible.
- Bread: 1 ounce (1 small slice, 1/2 bagel, 1/2 bun), or about the size of an index card
- Cooked Grains: 1/2 cup cooked oats, rice or pasta, or about the size of a billiard ball
- Dry cereal: 1/2 cup flakes, puffed rice or shredded wheat, or about the size of a billiard ball
- Raw fruit: 1/2 cup raw, canned or frozen fruit, or about the size of billiard ball
- Dried fruit: 1/4 cup raisins, prunes or apricots, or about the size of an egg
- Juice: 6 oz 100% fruit or vegetable juice, or about the size of a hockey puck
- Raw vegetables: 1 cup leafy greens, baby carrots or about the size of a baseball
- Cooked vegetables: 1/2 cup cooked broccoli, potatoes, or about the size of a billiard ball
Meat and Beans: Aim for 2-3 servings each day. Choose lean meats and plant proteins whenever possible.
- Meat & Tofu: 2-3 oz cooked beef, poultry, fish or tofu, or about the size of a deck of cards
- Beans: 1/2 cup cooked beans, split peas or legumes, or about the size of a billiard ball
- Nuts & Seeds: 2 tbsp nuts, seeds or nut butters, or about the size of a ping pong ball
- Cheese: 1 ounce or 1 thin slice of cheese, or about the size of a pair of dice
- Milk: 1 cup milk, yogurt or non-dairy milk alternative, or about the size of a baseball
- Fat & Oil: 1 tsp butter, margarine or oil, or about the size of one die