Portion and serving size guide

What is portion size?

A portion size can be defined as the quantity or the amount of food one choose to eat at a time. Eating too little or more than the required amount may result in malnourishment or obesity. During recent years average portion size has become quite large for one person. At domestic level people prefer to use large dinner plates instead of smaller ones for eating and servings , similarly the restaurants are serving big portions of food such as big mac burgers and 12 inch sandwich as one serving. Large portion size leads to overweight and obesity . Thats is the the reason during the past few decades, the percentage of obesity and the metabolic disorders associated with them have been drastically increased.

Serving sizes of different foods

The serving size is usually the recommended amount of different foods and is mostly less than the portion of food one chooses to eat or the portion that is served . Recommended serving size makes it easier for the consumer to compare the nutrient content of similar item. Below is the handy guide to the serving of different foods.

Bread, cereal and grains

For a healthy individual 6 -11 servings from this group is recommended. Aim for at least half of them whole grain. 1 serving of bread,cereals and grains provides you with 16 grams of carbohydrates and 64 kcal.

Examples of 1 serving of bread and cereals

1 slice of bread

1/2 cup cooked rice

3tbsp cooked cereals

1/2 cup popped corns

1 disc size chapatti

1 medium potatoes

2 biscuits

1 wheetabix

Proteins group

2-3 servings from protein group is recommended daily. 1 oz of low fat meat and protein providesyou with 7 gramsprotein and 0-1 gramsfat. Limit your choices from high fat meat groups to three times per week or less. 1 serving of protein group is;

2-3 oz of lean meat about the size of deck size of cards

1/2 cup of beans, split peas and legumes

12 almonds or 2 tbsp nuts and seeds

2 eggs

Fruits and vegetables

At least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables are recommended daily . One serving of fruits provides you with 15 grams carbohydrates and 60 kcal and one serving of vegetables provide you with 5 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams proteins and 25 kcal. Try to eat at least 2 -3 vegetable choices each day. Fill half of your plate with salad and fruits first.

Examples of 1 serving of fruits

1 medium apple or orange or banana

4 apricots

3 dates

17 grapes

11/4 cup watermelon

1 cup papaya cubes

1/2 mango

Examples of 1 serving vegetables

1 cup raw vegetables

1/2 cup cooked vegetables

12 baby carrots

1 cup mixed salad

Milk and milk products

3 servings from milk and milk products are recommended in a day . Milk and milk products are good source of calcium and proteins. One serving of low fat milk and milk products provides you with 12 gram carbohydrates, 8 grams proteins, 0-3 grams fats and 90 kcal.

1 serving of milk and dairy products is equivalent to

1 cup Skim milk

3/4 cup low fat yogurt

1/2 cup evaporated skim milk

Fats and oils

All fats and oils are high in calories. Limit serving size of fats and oils to ensure good nutrition and health. 2 – 3servings of fats and oil are recommended in a day. 1 serving of oil provide you with 5 grams fat and 45 calories. The 1 serving of fats and oils are equal to


1tsp of cooking oil

1tsp of mayonnaise

1 tbsp of butter and low fat salad dressing.

tips to reduce portion size

  • Make small changes gradually in your diet and exercise.
  • Eat variety of foods . Do not restrict yourself to specific foods
  • Balance your intake with physical activity.
  • Serve yourself dinner in smaller plates.
  • Fill half of your plate with salad first.
  • Drink plenty of water .
  • Use fruits and raw vegetables as a snack.


Aliya Waqas

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