4 Surprising Facts About Serving Size

Food Guidelines Are Getting Better

Food and drinks on a table
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1. How Much Is A Serving?

It confusing! A vegetable serving is a 1/2 cup. Except leafy greens such as spinach or kale are a cup. Fruit? A serving is 1 cup if it's fresh, a 1/2 cup if it's dry. Grains, nuts, eggs, ice cream...serving sizes are all different! Hungry for more?! To find the exact serving sizes of your food go to this food guide put out by the Columbia School of Health. But take heart. It's about to get easier – just read on.

2. How Much Is A Daily Requirement?

Here's where it starts to get easy! The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regularly consider what's good for us, and they no longer recommend uniform serving sizes. Rather, we are now urged to eat certain healthier kinds of foods and portions according to a more accurate formula based on age, sex, and level of activity. To make it easy the CDC provides a free online food calculator to quickly see what your daily servings should be.

3. No More Food Pyramid!

That’s right, it's gone! Now we have "my plate," and there's a general voice of universal agreement that it’s an improvement over the pyramid. Here's why. It’s easier to look at, understand, and most importantly it's easy to apply, especially for busy moms and dads trying to figure out how best to feed their kids. For instance fruits and veggies should be ½ of your plate – clear and simple. In our old pyramid model fruits and veggies were a certain number of servings per day, and no one seemed to agree whether the pyramid should be right side up or upside down.

4. Your Dinner Plate is Dangerous!

The size of your dinner plate is larger than it used to be. The average size is now 12" in diameter. Before the 1970's it was 9”. That translates to over 50% more surface area...and calories...and weight gain. And it's not just our dinner plates. Portion sizes have doubled and even tripled in some cases. Bagels are double the size they used to be. Same with soda cups, hamburgers, and popcorn containers. Experts agree that our obesity epidemic is as much about portion size as it is about the quality of food we eat.

Let's end on a positive note: did you know that you can get all the fruits and veggies you need each day with one glass of fresh homemade juice?