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Tips for Estimating Serving Sizes


The Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group
1 pancake a compact disc (CD)
1/2 cooked cup rice a cupcake wrapper full
1 piece of cornbread a bar of soap
1 cup of pasta, spaghetti, cereal a fist
2 cups of cooked pasta a full outstretched hand
1 cup of potatoes, rice, pasta a tennis ball, ice cream scoop


The Vegetable Group
1 cup green salad a baseball or a fist
1 baked potato a fist
3/4 cup tomato juice a small styrofoam cup
1/2 cup cooked broccoli a scoop of ice cream or a light bulb
1/2 cup serving 6 asparagus spears; 7 or 8 baby carrots or carrot sticks or 1 ear of corn on the cob


The Fruit Group
1/2 cup of grapes (15 grapes) a light bulb
1/2 cup of fresh fruit 7 cotton balls
1 medium size fruit a tennis ball or a fist
1 cup of cut-up fruit a fist
1/4 cup raisins a large egg


The Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group
1 ounce of cheese a pair of dice or your thumb
1 1/2 ounces cheese 3 dominoes or your index and middle fingers
1 cup of ice cream a large scoop the size of a baseball


The Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Bean, Egg, and Nut Group
2 tablespoons peanut butter a ping-pong ball
1 teaspoon peanut butter a fingertip
1 tablespoon peanut butter a thumb tip
3 ounces cooked meat, fish,
a palm, a deck or cards or a cassette tape
3 ounces grilled/baked fish a checkbook
3 ounces cooked chicken a chicken leg and thigh or breast


Fats, Oils and Sweets
2 tablespoons salad dressing a ping-pong ball
1 teaspoon butter, margarine size of a stamp the thickness of your finger or a thumb tip


Snack Foods
1 ounce of nuts or small candies one handful
1 ounce of chips or pretzels two handfuls
1/2 cup of potato chips, crackers
or popcorn
one man's handful
1/3 cup of potato chips, crackers
or popcorn
one woman's handful


Serving Dishes/Utensils
1/2 cup a small fruit bowl, a custard cup or mashed potato scoop
1 1/2 cups a large cereal/soup bowl
1 1/2 cups of pasta, noodles a dinner plate, not heaped
1/2 cup of pasta, noodles a cafeteria vegetable dish

Measuring Tip: You might want to know that... a cupped hand holds 2 tablespoons of liquid if you don't have measuring spoons.

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Source: Oregon State University Extension Family & Community Development          back to top ^

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