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What is a Serving?

October 8, 2012

Healthy eating does not only involve choosing the right kinds of food; it also requires you to eat the right amount of each kind of food. Knowing the appropriate amounts of food to consume can help you maintain a balanced diet and prevent overeating, and it is especially important if you are trying to lose weight. The recommended amount for each type of food is expressed in terms of servings, and you need to know the serving size for each kind of food to stay faithful to your diet plan.

Here are the serving sizes for different kinds of food:

heart healthy serving sizeGrains

  • 1 slice of bread
  • ½ piece of bagel (size of hockey puck)
  • ½ cup of cooked cereal
  • 1 oz. of ready-to-eat cereal
  • rice or pasta (size of ½ baseball)


  • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables (size of small fist)
  • ½ cup of other kinds of vegetables
  • ½ cup of vegetable juice


  • 1 medium-sized fruit (size of baseball)
  • ½ cup of chopped, canned, or cooked fruit
  • ½ cup of fruit juice

Meat, Poultry, and Fish

  • 2 or 3 oz. of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish

Dry Beans or Nuts

  • ½ cup of cooked dry beans
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese

  • 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt
  • 1½ oz. of low-fat or fat-free cheese

When determining serving sizes, you can compare them to the sizes of things you see in your everyday life, such as a small fist, hockey puck, baseball, checkbook, and computer mouse. This will help you make your serving sizes more consistent.

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