What Are Healthy Portion Sizes? Nutrition Experts Break it Down

If you feel like you’re suffering from a part distortion – I mean really, who eats half a cup of ice cream and calls it a day?! – You are not alone. Research has shown that humans struggle to accurately estimate portion sizes and calories from foods by 30 to 46%, according to a study published in the journal. appetite. And when we serve ourselves more than a healthy portion size, science proves that we eat more in total. Whether you’re aiming to lose, maintain, or gain weight, it can be helpful to know portion sizes of food so that you’re a knowledgeable eater.

With the help of the latest nutritional guidelines, USDA’s MyPlate, and Laura Burak MS, RD, founder of GetNaked® Nutrition and author of Slimdown with SmoothiesIn this article, we will prepare the final portion size guide and explain the differences between portion sizes and portion sizes.

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Your full ration size guide

Healthy portion sizes are based on a 2,000-calorie diet, “but of course everyone needs different amounts of calories,” says Burak. The latest USDA food portion sizes come packed with three calorie levels: 1600, 2000, and 2400 (you’ll see the three separated in the portion size guide below).

Before we delve into it, it’s important to explain the differences between serving sizes and portion sizes.

  • serving size: Food portion size listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel for labeled foods, or as recommended by the government as a suggested serving.

  • Serving Size: The amount of food you eventually consume.

However, “Healthy portion sizes will literally differ for each person. If you eat the exact amount as someone else, it will suddenly not look like it. Try to be mindful of what you need at that moment, and remember that it is every day and even your needs will vary day by day based on the level of Activity, hormonal shifts, disease, and more,” Burak adds.

Related: 15 Kitchen Gadgets That Make Healthy Eating Easier

So while you’re studying portion sizes for adults, eat them with a grain of salt. “Only you know what you need, so please respect that. And remember, you have built-in radar there to guide you from a young age, but you may have lost touch with it,” Burak continues.

What is the vegetable portion?

The weight and density of vegetables is important, so answering the question “what is a serving size of vegetables?” Differs. MyPlate limits the size of a healthy portion of vegetables to be 1 cup of vegetable juice, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens.

One cup, for reference, is the size of a baseball or adult fist. “You can’t consume too much too much, vegetables are the key to maxing out because they’re the best nutrient for the calorie stack,” Burak says. So feel free to add more green salad, vegetable soup, or baked goods to any meal if you’re feeling hungry. (Psst…these roasted veggie ideas will make you crave more veggies and these delicious side dish salad recipes might steal the spotlight from the restaurant.)

  • 1600 calories: 2 cups a day

  • 2000 calories: 2 and a half cups a day

  • 2400 calories: 3 cups a day

What is a fruit portion?

Whole fruit sizes vary, so everything from a large orange or peach to 3 medium plums to 2 to 3 kiwis (depending on their individual size) is a healthy portion of the fruit. So what exactly is a fruit serving? To set clearer food portion size guidelines, MyPlate defines one serving of fruit as 1 cup of fruit, 100% fruit juice, or 1/2 cup of dried fruit.

  • 1600 calories: 1½ cups per day

  • 2000 calories: 2 cups per day

  • 2400 calories: 2 cups a day

Related: 18 Fruit Salad Recipes That Make Your Sweet Product Shine

Carla Conrad

What is the grain ration?

What is a serving of rice, bread, cereal or pasta? MyPlate says a serving of cereal equals one ounce, which is one slice of bread, one cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or a cooked cereal (such as oatmeal). At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains, they advise, to keep your fiber intake strong and your gut healthy.

  • 1600 calories: 5 ounces per day

  • 2000 calories: 6 ounces per day

  • 2,400 calories: 8 ounces per day

What is the share of dairy products?

According to MyPlate, 90% of Americans don’t get enough dairy, so they suggest the same servings of dairy for all calorie levels. MyPlate considers a dairy portion size to be 1 cup of milk, yogurt or a non-dairy milk substitute, or 1 ounce of cheese (which is just under the size of a Domino’s).

  • 1600 calories: 3 cups a day

  • 2000 calories: 3 cups a day

  • 2400 calories: 3 cups a day

What is a serving of protein?

Burak says a typical serving of protein should be the size of a deck of cards, or 2 to 3 ounces. But because MyPlate has a variety of protein portion sizes throughout the day and week, she breaks it down into 1 ounce equivalent again. Of course, 1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish counts as such, and here’s what else counts as 1 ounce: 1 cup of cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or an ounce of nuts or seeds.

  • 1600 calories: 5 ounces per day

    • Including 23 ounces of meat, poultry, and eggs per week

    • Including 8 ounces of seafood per week

  • 2000 calories: 5 ounces per day

    • Including 26 ounces of meat, poultry, and eggs per week

    • Including 8 ounces of seafood per week

  • 2,400 calories: 6 ounces per day

    • Including 31 ounces of meat, poultry, and eggs per week

    • Including 10 ounces of seafood per week

What is a fat share?

Although it’s not actually considered a part of MyPlate because it comes packaged in other foods (see: Fruit to judge “what’s a serving of an avocado?”), the USDA breaks down the extra grams of oil to add to your daily diet. For reference, there are about 14 grams per tablespoon of olive oil, so for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet it would be about 2 tablespoons of added oil throughout the day.

  • 1,600 calories: 22 grams of oils per day, plus fats from nuts, seeds, and other foods

  • 2,000 calories: 27 grams of oils per day, plus fats from nuts, seeds, and other foods

  • 2,400 calories: 31 grams of oils per day, plus fats from nuts, seeds, and other foods

What is a portion of wine, beer or liquor?

Few people stop while out at happy hour or a restaurant dinner to think, “Hey, what’s your share of wine, beer, or cocktail?” But it may be helpful to learn about this – both to keep calories and alcohol intake under control. In the United States, a “standard” drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction (NIH). This is related to:

  • 12 ounces of beer contains 5% alcohol (often listed as 5 percent ABV)

  • 5 ounces of wine with 12% alcohol

  • 1½ ounce spirits (such as vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, or tequila) with 40% alcohol

If you deviate from the healthy portion sizes outlined here, the best thing you can do is try to get back on track and listen to your gut the next time you eat.

“We tend to easily overeat carbs – like a warm bread basket, bowl of pasta, or baked goods like crackers – because they are so tasty. Feeling comforted while eating these foods leads to cravings for more and more, and it can feel hard to get a little bit of them. Burak says.

Related: Brown healthy lunch bag ideas for school, work and life on the go

Pair that feeling with “I shouldn’t be eating these foods, but now I’m wrong, so I might be eating as much as I can now…”mental,” a recipe that’s easy for people to eat, and she adds, “overeating.” Burak concludes that all the foods you love can be included as part of a nutritious diet.

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