Let’s look at some examples:
You eat 2 waffles for breakfast
- One serving from the Food Guide Pyramid is equal to 1 waffle.
- So that means if you ate 2 waffles, you also ate 2 servings from the grains group.
Here are some other common portions and their respective Food Guide Pyramid serving sizes:
|Common portions that people eat||Food Guide Pyramid Serving Size||Total servings per Food Guide Pyramid|
|1 bagel||½ bagel||= 2 servings|
|1 English Muffin||½ English muffin||= 2 servings|
|1 Hamburger bun||½ bun||= 2 servings|
|1 cup cooked rice||½ cup cooked rice||= 2 servings|
|1 cups cooked pasta||½ cup cooked pasta||= 2 servings|
In each food group, look at these different Food Guide Pyramid examples indicating 1 serving each. How do these compare with what your portions look like?
- 1 slice bread, waffle or pancake
- ½ bagel, hamburger bun, or English muffin
- ½ cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal
- 1 cup ready to eat cereal
- ¾ cup (6 fluid ounces) 100% vegetable juice
- 1 cup raw, leafy vegetables or salad
- ½ cup cooked or canned vegetables
- 1 medium apple, orange or banana
- ½ cup fruit (canned, cooked or raw)
- ½ cup (4 fluid ounces) 100% fruit juice
- ¼ cup dried fruit (raisins, apricots or prunes)
- 1 cup milk or yogurt
- 2 ounces processed cheese (American)
- 1 ½ ounces natural cheese (cheddar)
- Meat and Beans
- 1 tablespoons of peanut butter counts as 1 ounce
- ¼ cup nuts or 20-24 almonds
- 1 medium size egg
- 2-3 ounces of poultry, meat or fish (2-3 servings)
- ¼ cup of beans
Tips on how to visually estimate 1 serving size
|1 oz. bread or 1 slice of bread||CD case|
|10 French fries||Deck of cards|
|½ cup cooked rice or pasta||Computer mouse|
|1 cup raw leafy vegetables||Baseball|
|½ cup vegetables||Computer mouse|
|1 medium fruit such as an apple or an orange||Tennis ball or the size of your fist|
|¾ cup juice||6 ounce juice can (1 ½ servings)|
|½ cup chopped or canned fruit||Computer mouse|
|Milk and Milk Products Group|
|1 ounce cheese||Pair of dice or the size of your thumb|
|1 ½ ounces cheddar cheese||2 (9-volt) batteries|
|1 cup of milk||8 ounce carton of milk|
|8 ounces yogurt||Baseball or tennis ball|
|Meat & Beans Group|
|3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry||Deck of cards (3 servings)|
|2 tablespoons of peanut butter||Ping–pong ball (2 servings)|
|½ cup cooked beans||Baseball (2 servings)|
Try these ideas to help control portions at home:
- When your child is hungry and looking for a snack take the amount of food that is equal to one serving (refer to the Nutrition Facts label) and have your child eat it off a plate instead of eating it out of the box or bag.
- Don’t be tempted to finish off leftover dinner the next day. Freeze leftovers as single servings so that you can pull it out of the freezer when you need a quick, healthy meal for your family.
- Be prepared and have emergency snacks on hand if your family is running late and needs a quick snack. Make your own snack bags for traveling by reading the Nutrition Facts label and placing a single serving size into plastic bags.
- Have your child measure out a single serving of food before sitting in front of the television or doing other activities that can distract him/her from realizing how much food is being consumed. This way your child will know exactly how much he or she is eating!
Serving sizes on food labels are sometimes different from the Food Guide Pyramid servings. For example, the serving size for beverages is measured in cups or fluid ounces. Whether it is milk, juice, or soda the nutrition facts labeling guidelines is 1 cup or 8 fluid ounces, which equals 1 serving size. However, the Food Guide Pyramid serving size for milk is 1 cup, but for juice it is ¾ cup.
So, even though the amount of 1 serving on nutrition facts labels and the Food Guide Pyramid may be slightly different it is still a great tool to help you and your child decide if you are getting enough or too much food each day. Encourage your child to get familiar with the serving sizes because smart eating is an essential part of growing and staying healthy!
Source: Nourish Interactive.