Serving Sizes: a visual guide

psp_meat_almonds

By Rebekah Shulman, Dietitian Assistant 

When’s the last time you measured out half a cup of ice cream, ate exactly 15 chips, or leveled out two tablespoons of peanut butter? You may be surprised about what a serving of these common foods actually looks like.  While using measuring utensils and counting calories isn’t necessary to maintain a healthy diet, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the recommended serving sizes for the foods you’re eating on a daily basis, particularly if they’re calorie dense.

Below are some visual representations to think about the next time you reach for a pint of ice cream, a bag of trail mix, or a jar of peanut butter.

Peanut Butter

578912f788e4a7fd018b8683-1334-889

Serving size = 2 Tablespoons

Pasta

2016-03-10_portionsize_blog_730x485_0001_2.jpg

Serving size: ½ cup, or a tennis ball

Ice Cream

578912fa88e4a71a008b8642-1334-889

Serving size = ½ cup, or a tennis ball

*This means that there are 4 servings per pint!

Trail mix

2016-03-10_portionsize_blog_730x485_0002_3.jpg

Serving size: ¼ cup, or a golf ball, or a small handful

Almonds

578912f788e4a70f018b86ef-1334-889

Servings size: 1 oz or 24 nuts

Potato Chips

578912f788e4a7da328b838b-1334-889

Serving size: 1 oz or 15 chips

Granola

2016-03-10_PortionSize_Blog_730x485_0000_1

Serving size: ¼ cup or an egg

Oreos

578912f788e4a7d9068b85eb-1334-889

Serving size: 2 cookies

Salad dressing

578912f988e4a79f178b8476-1334-889

Serving size: 2 Tablespoons

Did any of these surprise you? It’s unnecessary to obsess over exact measurements, but being mindful of your portions can help you reach your health goals. As you can see, many “healthy” foods are higher in calories, fat, and/or sugar than you may think. Furthermore, eating smaller portions leaves room for a larger variety of foods within your daily intake, which can help you reach your macro- and micro- nutrient requirements.