You're hungry, but you don't like the chicken and broccoli that is being served for dinner. However, the pasta looks good. You think you'll just have a plate of that? Think again, because one serving of pasta is probably a lot less than you think.
Every day, you need a certain number of servings from each food group. The amount is different for boys and girls. For recommendations specific to you, check out the ChooseMyPlate.gov food guide.
Remember, portion size is just as important as what you eat. The key is to have some of everything, and not too much of one thing.
Over the past few decades, portion size of common foods has grown tremendously. A bagel from 20 years ago looks tiny compared to today's bagels. For a fun look at how portion sizes have changed, try the Department of Health and Human Service's Portion Distortion Quiz.
Some people think that if they are eating foods that are low in fat and generally healthy, they can eat more and have larger portions. This can be true if you are eating a cup of blueberries, but this is not true if you are eating a cup of cheese. It is important to use the recommended serving size as a guide, as well as make healthy choices.
If you love cooking and are making a recipe, look at how many people the recipe serves. If it says it serves six, each person should eat one-sixth of the meal to get the correct serving size. If you have three people in your family and you split the whole dish evenly, that means each person in your family ate double the serving size. That means double the fat, calories, and everything else for each person.
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Did You Know?
- A serving of bread is one piece, not the usual two pieces on your sandwich.
- One-half cup is about the size of half a tennis ball
- A 3-ounce serving size of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
- One cup serving of vegetables, milk, or yogurt is about equal to your fist.,
- A 1 ounce serving of cheese is close to the size of your thumb.
- One serving – or a teaspoon – of oil is the same size as the tip of your thumb.
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Written By: Julia Ransohoff,
high school student writer
Reviewed by: Adolescent Interest Group
Last reviewed: August 2013
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
ChooseMyPlate.gov - ChooseMyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet using a familiar image – a place setting for a meal.
Portion Distortion, Diabetes.org.
For More Information:
See our Snacking Healthy article.
See our Nutrition: Eat Smart article.