What is a Serving?

A serving is a reference amount of food, which is recommended by health professionals. In some cases a serving’s amount is similar to what you eat, for example an apple. But in other cases, such as rice or pasta, you may serve yourself more than one serving.
Food manufacturers usually make their own serving size and write it on their package nutrition facts panel but it is not always the same as the recommended servings. To get a better idea of what one serving means to you, look at these examples:

Image courtesy of  via Satit Srihin via FreeDigitalPhotos.netOne serving of Vegetables and Fruit is:

1 piece of fruit, or

1/2 cup (125 ml) of fresh, frozen or canned fruit,
1 cup (250 ml) leafy raw vegetables, or
1/2 cup (125 ml) cooked vegetables, or
1/2 cup of 100% fruit or vegetable juice.
If you can’t tell weather a food is 1/2 a cup,
just measure the size of your closed-fist or a tennis ball to compare.

One serving of Grain Products is:

1 slice (35 g) bread or 1/2 (45 g) bagel, odietitians-1154 trans-larger
1 small (6 inch) chapatti, or
1/2 piece (6 inch, 35 g) pita, naan, tortilla, or
1/2 cup (125 ml) cooked rice, pasta or couscous, or
3/4 cup (175 ml) cold or hot cereal

antpkr - 100170841One serving of Milk and Alternatives is:

1 cup (250 ml) milk or fortified soy beverage, or
3/4 cup (175 g) yogurt, or
1.5 oz. (50 g) cheese.
You can estimate 1.5 ounces by comparing it to a matchbox
or two of your fingers (index and middle finger together).

antpkr - 100168830

One serving of Meat and Alternatives is:

1/2 cup or (3 oz.) cooked fish, shellfish, poultry or lean meat. To estimate, compare the meat to the size of your palm or a deck of cards
3/4 cup (175 ml) cooked beans, or
2 eggs, or
2 Tbsp (30 ml) peanut butter

One serving of Fats and Oils is:

SOMMAI - 100206122

1 tsp butter and unsaturated oils,
the size of a dice or the tip of your index finger


A general rule of thumb for portions:

(Measurements are based on standard women’s hand size)

Hand signs for Servings

Go to How to use these servings? page Next >

< Previous Go to the Major Food Groups

What do you think? Please comment: