What’s in a Serving?

What’s in a Serving?

Determining A Proper Serving Size

In a portion-distorted world, here are some tips on how you can determine a proper serving size

Most of us would like to think that we have a good handle on portion control. But in our country – where “super-size it” seems to be our cultural motto, obesity is running rampant, and diabetes rates continue to rise – most of us could stand to learn a few things about portion control.

While it may seem disheartening at first to learn that a serving of porterhouse steak isn’t 16 ounces, you’ll soon learn that in order to reap the nutritional and health benefits from a variety of foods you have to control your portions!

The following serving sizes are consistent with the serving size suggestions of the Food Guide Pyramid and Diabetes Exchange Lists for Meal Planning. For those with diabetes or who prefer to count fat or calorie grams (g), we’ve provided average total calories, grams of carbohydrate, protein and fat per serving for each food group.

Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta Group (commonly called the Grains or Starch group)

Each serving contains approximately 80 calories, 15 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 1-3 g fat

Breads:
  • 1 slice whole wheat, rye, white, pumpernickel bread
  • 2 slices reduced calorie bread
  • ½ hot dog or hamburger bun
  • ½ English muffin
  • ½ bagel (1 ounce)
  • 1 small roll (1 ounce)
  • ½ 6” diameter pita bread or lavash bread
  • 1 6” diameter corn or flour tortilla
Cereals and Grains:
  • 1 oz most cold cereals (1/4 – 1 cup)
  • 1 ½ cup puffed cereals (e.g. puffed rice)
  • ½ cup cooked cereal (e.g. oatmeal, oat bran, cream of wheat)
  • ½ cup cooked brown or white rice
  • ½ cup cooked enriched or whole-wheat pasta or Soba noodles
  • 3 Tbsp wheat germ
Snack Foods:
  • 8 animal crackers (unfrosted)
  • 2 graham crackers
  • ¾ matzoh cracker
  • 4 slices melba toast
  • 3 cups popped light popcorn
  • 2-6 baked whole-wheat crackers 6 saltine crackers
  • 2, 4” diameter rice or corn cakes
  • ¾ oz pretzels
Starchy Vegetables:
  • ½ cup cooked corn or 1 medium ear of corn
  • ½ cup cooked peas
  • ½ cup cooked mixed vegetables
  • 1 small, 3-oz baked potato
  • ½ cup cooked mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup winter, acorn or butternut squash
  • ½ cup yam or sweet potato
Beans, Lentils, Split Peas:

(add 4 grams of protein and 35 calories)

  • ½ cup cooked or canned beans such as lima, kidney, black, soya
  • ½ cup cooked split peas
  • ½ cup cooked lentils

Vegetable Group

Each serving contains approximately 25 calories, 5 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 0 g fat

  • 1 cup raw leafy vegetables (e.g. kale, spinach, romaine, arugula, bibb lettuce, iceberg lettuce, watercress)
  • 1 cup raw vegetables (e.g. carrots, broccoli, asparagus, leeks, onions, beets, green beans, cauliflower, peppers, celery, cucumber, water chestnuts, zucchini)
  • ½ cup cooked vegetable (e.g. see above for raw)
  • 6 ounces most vegetable juices

Fruit Group

Each serving contains approximately 60 calories, 15 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat

  • 1 small apple (4 oz)
  • ½ cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 medium (4”) banana
  • ¾ cup blueberries
  • 1 ¼ cup whole strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries or boysenberries
  • 1 cup cubed canteloupe or honeydew
  • ¼ cup cubed watermelon
  • 1 medium peach
  • ½ medium grapefruit
  • 1 kiwifruit (3 ½ oz)
  • ½ cup fruit cocktail, extra light syrup or own juice
  • 12-15 grapes
  • 12 cherries
  • 2 small plums
  • 3 dried prunes (also called “dried plums”)
  • 2 Tbsp raisins or other dried fruit
  • 1 medium orange
  • 4-6 oz most 100% fruit juices

Dairy Group

Each serving contains approximately 80-110 calories, 12 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 0-3 g fat

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) nonfat or 1% milk, lowfat or 1% fat chocolate milk
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) nonfat or lowfat buttermilk
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) calcium-fortified light or reduced fat soymilk
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) nonfat or 1% plain or fruited yogurt made with sugar substitute
  • ½ cup nonfat frozen yogurt

Meat and Meat Substitutes Group

A serving size of meat is 3 ounces for the Food Guide Pyramid, one ounce denotes one serving for the Diabetes Exchange Lists

Very Lean Meats

A one-ounce serving provides approximately 35 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 0-1 g fat
Three ounces provide approximately 105 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 21 g protein, 0-3 g fat

  • 1 oz white meat of skinless chicken, turkey or cornish hen
  • 1 oz flounder, cod, haddock, halibut, trout oz tuna canned in water
  • 1 oz most shellfish, including clams, crabs, lobster, scallops, shrimp, imitation crabmeat
  • 1 oz nonfat cheese
  • 1 oz nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 oz of luncheon meats or other processed deli meats with 1 g or less fat per serving
  • 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute
  • ¼ cup textured vegetable protein (meatless ground meat substitute)
  • 1 oz vegetable burger patty containing 1 gram or less fat per ounce – add 10-12 g carbohydrate and approximately 20 calories per ounce

Lean Meats

A one-ounce serving provides approximately 55 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 3 g fat
Three ounces provide approximately 165 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 21 g protein, 9 g fat

  • 1 oz chicken or turkey with dark meat, no skin oz pork tenderloin, fresh ham, Canadian bacon
  • 1 oz lamb roast, chop or leg
  • 1 oz lean veal chop or roast oz USDA Select or Choice grades of lean beef, including round, sirloin, flank, tenderloin, ground round
  • 1 oz USDA Select or Choice grades of steak including porterhouse, cubed, T-bone
  • 1 oz herring, salmon, catfish, sardines
  • 1 oz canned tuna in oil
  • 1 oz rabbit
  • 1 oz 4.5% fat cottage cheese
  • 1 oz grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 oz cheeses with 3 grams or less fat per ounce
  • 1 oz processed deli meats with 3 grams or less fat per ounce
  • 4 ounces or ¼ cup light tofu with 3 grams or less fat per ounce

Medium-Fat Meats

A one-ounce serving provides approximately 75 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 5 g fat
Three ounces provide approximately 225 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 21 g protein, 15 g fat

  • 1 oz chicken (dark meat, with skin)
  • 1 oz ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 oz fried chicken
  • 1 oz veal cutlet
  • 1 oz ground lamb or lamb roast 1 oz pork top loin, chop, cutlet
  • 1 oz ground beef, meatloaf, short ribs, Prime rib, corned beef
  • 1 oz any fried fish
  • 1 oz cheese with 5 grams or less fat per ounce
  • 1 oz feta
  • 1 oz mozzarella
  • 1 oz ricotta oz or ¼ cup tofu
  • ¼ cup tempeh
  • 1 oz sausage with 5 grams or less fat per ounce

High Fat Meats

A one-ounce serving provides approximately 100 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 8 g fat
Three ounces provide approximately 300 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 21 g protein, 24 g fat

  • 1 oz spareribs, ground pork, pork sausage
  • 1 oz most cheeses including cheddar, muenster, Monterey Jack, Swiss
  • 1 oz most processed sandwich meats like salami, bologna, pimento loaf, capicola
  • 1 oz most sausages including Bratwurst, Italian
  • 1 oz hot dog (pork, beef, turkey, chicken)
  • 3 slices bacon

Fats

Fats are broken into four categories, each playing a different role in your heart health. Keep saturated and trans fat lowest and focus on increasing mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

Each serving contains approximately 45 calories, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 5 g fat.

High Monounsaturated Fats (choose most often)
  • 1/8 avocado
  • 1 tsp olive, canola, peanut oils
  • 8 large black or green olives, stuffed
  • ½ oz most nuts
  • 2 tsp tahini paste
  • 4 pecan halves
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
High Polyunsaturated Fats (choose more often)
  • 1 tsp stick or tub margarine
  • 1 Tbsp reduced fat, light or nonfat margarine
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 4 English walnut halves
  • 1 tsp corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower oil
  • 1 Tbsp salad dressing
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat salad dressing
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin or sunflower seeds
High Saturated Fats (choose least often, if at all)
  • 1 tsp stick butter
  • 2 tsp whipped butter
  • 1 Tbsp reduced fat butter
  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1 tsp bacon grease
  • 2 Tbsp boiled chitterlings
  • 2 Tbsp coconut, sweetened or shredded
  • 2 Tbsp half and half
  • 2 Tbsp cream
  • 1 Tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp palm, palm kernel, coconut oils
High Trans Fats (choose rarely if ever)

No specific serving sizes provided – limit total quantity of the following foods:

  • Fried foods
  • Commercially baked goods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (e.g. shortening, partially hydrogenated soybean oil)
  • Any foods containing the words hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated

Quick and easy household measurements to use as portion control guides

  • 3 ounces of meat is about the size and thickness of a deck of playing cards.
  • A medium sized piece of fruit is the size of a tennis ball.
  • 1 ounce of cheese is about the size of four stacked dice. 4. ½ cup of ice cream is the size of a tennis ball.
  • 1 cup of mashed potatoes is the size of your fist (depending on your size; commonly the size of a female fist).
  • 1 ounce of nuts should fit into the small of your hand.
  • 1 teaspoon of margarine or butter is about the size of the tip of your thumb.

For more information on a heart-healthy diet plan, please contact the Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation Program at 216.444.9353 (or toll-free at 800.223.2273, extension 49353) and we can schedule a nutrition consultation.


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