For vegetables, most men need 3 servings and most women need 2 and ½ servings per day. A serving is considered:
- 1 cup vegetables cooked or raw
- 2 cups leafy greens like spinach or lettuce
For example, 2 cups is what would fit in 2 handfuls or 2 fists. Also, a serving of a whole vegetable, like a tomato or potato, is the size of a tennis ball.
For grains, most men need 7-8 ounce equivalents and most women need 6-ounce equivalents. An ounce equivalent is:
- 1 slice of bread
- 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal
- ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cooked cereal like oatmeal or cream of wheat
For example, a slice of bread is about the size of your flat hand or the size of a CD case. Also, a ½ cup of cooked grains is what would fit in a cupcake wrapper.
For proteins, most men need 6-6 ½ ounce equivalents and most women need 5-5 ½ ounce equivalents. An ounce equivalent is:
- 1 egg
- ½ cup cooked beans or lentils
- ¼ cup of nuts or seeds
- 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish
For example, 1/4 cup of nuts or seeds is the size of a golf ball. 1 tablespoon of peanut butter is about the size of your thumb. Also, 3 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of your palm or a deck of cards.
For dairy products, most men and women need 3 servings per day. A serving is considered:
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 ½ ounces of cheese
For example, 1 ½ ounces of cheese is the size of 4 dice or about the size of your pointer finger.
Now you are ready for your next meal or snack to make sure you are getting the proper serving size! If you get more than 30 minutes of physical activity per day or if you have specific medical conditions, meet with your registered dietitian for a more specific meal plan that fits your lifestyle.