How Much Do I Need?

When preparing dinner for the family, think of your plate as a pie chart*:

Pie Chart
  • 1/2 of your plate should be filled with vegetables and fruits. Go for lots of different colors!
  • 1/4 filled with a whole grain. Try brown rice or quinoa!
  • 1/4 should be a protein source. Try fish, chicken, beans, tofu, nuts, or eggs.

Remember that different sized bodies need different amounts of food. Children's portions should be about 2/3 the size of an adult portion. Start with small servings, and if kids have room for seconds, let them decide.


Hints for figuring out standard serving sizes:

  • A serving of whole grains could be 1 slice of whole grain bread, 1 cup of whole grain cereal or 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice, whole wheat pasta or hot cereal like oatmeal. One cup is the size of a tennis ball.
  • A serving of whole fruit (an apple, banana, etc) should be about the size of a baseball. For chopped or canned fruits and veggies, like pineapple or strawberries, a serving is about a half cup (the size of a light bulb). A serving of dried fruit is about half that amount.
  • For dairy, a serving could be one cup of low fat milk or yogurt, or 1 ounce of cheese. One cup of milk is the size of a small juice glass. One ounce of cheese is the size of four dice.
  • One serving of protein is three ounces of lean meat, chicken or fish. Three ounces of meat looks like a deck of cards. You can also try alternative proteins like: 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of cooked beans or 1/3 cup of almonds or mixed nuts.