Serving Sizes

What counts as a serving?

Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group (including whole and refined grains) 1 slice of bread About 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta

Vegetable Group 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables 1/2 cup of other vegetables, cooked or raw 3/4 cup of vegetable juice

Fruit Group 1 medium apple, banana, orange, or pear 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit 3/4 cup of fruit juice

Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group 1 cup of milk or yogurt 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese (such as cheddar) 2 ounces of processed cheese (such as American)

This group includes lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk products. One cup of soymilk with added calcium is an option for those who prefer a nondairy source of calcium. Choose fat-free or reduced-fat dairy products most often.

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group 2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans or 1/2 cup of tofu counts as 1 ounce of lean meat 1 2-1/2 ounce soyburger or 1 egg counts as 1 ounce of lean meat 1/3 cup of nuts counts as 1 ounce of meat

A Few Points to Consider:

  • An amount considered a serving size on a product's Nutrition Facts label may be larger than specified in the guidelines recommended above.
  • Dry beans, peas, and lentils can be counted as servings in either the meat group or the vegetable group. As a vegetable, 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans counts as 1 serving. As a meat substitute, 1 cup of cooked dry beans counts as 1 serving (2 ounces of meat).