You're hungry, but you don't like the chicken and broccoli that's being served for dinner. However, the pasta looks good. You think you'll just have a plate of that? Think again, because one serving of pasta is probably a lot smaller than you think.
You need a certain number of servings from each food group every day. For recommendations specific to you, check out the ChooseMyPlate.gov food guide.
Remember, portion size is just as important as what you eat. The key is to have some of everything, and not too much of one thing.
Over the past few decades, portion size of common foods has grown tremendously. A bagel from 20 years ago looks tiny compared to today's bagels. For a fun look at how portion sizes have changed, try the Department of Health and Human Service's Portion Distortion Quiz.
Some people think that if they are eating foods that are low in fat and generally healthy, they can eat more and have larger portions. This can be true if you are eating a cup of blueberries, but this is not true if you are eating a cup of cheese. It is important to use the recommended serving size as a guide, as well as to make healthy choices.
If you love cooking and are making a recipe, look at how many people the recipe serves. If it says it serves six, each person should eat one-sixth of the meal to get the correct serving size. If you have three people in your family and you split the whole dish evenly, that means each person in your family ate double the serving size. That means double the fat, calories and everything else for each person.
Did You Know?
- A serving of bread is one piece, not the usual two pieces on your sandwich.
- One-half cup is about the size of half a tennis ball.
- A 3-ounce serving size of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
- One cup serving of vegetables, milk or yogurt is about equal to the size of your fist.
- A 1-ounce serving of cheese is close to the size of your thumb.
- One serving – or a teaspoon – of oil is the same size as the tip of your thumb.
Youth reviewer: Amanda Hung
Last reviewed: June 2019