Serving Sizes

This section provides details concerning appropriate serving and portion sizes. The first objective is to understand what constitutes a serving for each of the 5 food groups.  The second objective is to understand servings sizes as they relate to the needs of children based on age and activity level.

Serving Sizes

Below is a picture of the My Plate icon and a list of servings from the 5 food groups.

Grains

½ cup cooked oatmeal (1 ounce equivalent)

1 slice bread, waffle or pancake (1 ounce equivalent)

½ bagel, hamburger bun, or English muffin (1 ounce equivalent)

½ cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal (1 ounce equivalent)my plate lunch 2

1 cup ready to eat cereal (1 ounce equivalent)

1 ounce whole wheat crackers

Vegetables

¾ cup (6 fluid ounces) 100% vegetable juice

1 cup raw, leafy vegetables or salad

½ cup cooked or canned vegetables

Fruits

1 medium apple, orange or banana

½ cup fruit (canned, cooked or raw)

½ cup (4 fluid ounces) 100% fruit juice

¼ cup dried fruit (raisins, apricots or prunes)

Milk

1 cup milk or yogurt

2 ounces processed cheese (American)

1 ½ ounces natural cheese (cheddar)

2 cups cottage cheese

Meat /Beans /Nuts

1 tablespoon of peanut butter counts as 1 ounce

¼ cup nuts or 20-24 almonds

1 medium size egg

2-3 ounces of poultry, meat or fish (2-3 servings)

¼ cup of beans

Daily Serving Sizes for Children and Adolescents

Below is a table listing the number of servings per day based on age for each of the 5 groups (reprinted from ChoosMyPlate.gov.)

Servings Servings /Day One Serving1- 3 years One Serving 4-5 years One Serving 6-12 years One Serving 12 years  – adults
Grains 5 or less ½ slice or¼cup ½ slice or1/3 cup 1 slice or½ cup 1 slice or½ cup
Vegetables 3 to 5 ¼ cup 1/3 cup ½ cup ½ cup
Fruits 2 to 4 ¼ cup 1/3 cup ½ cup ½ cup
Dairy 2 to 3 ½ cup ¾ cup 1 cup 1 cup
Meat/Beans/Nuts 2 to 3 1 oz or¼ cup 1 ½ oz or1/3 cup 2 oz or½ cup 2 to 3 ozor ½ cup

Below is a table listing the number of servings per day based on caloric intake (reprinted from ChooseMyPlate.gov).

Calories 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400 2600 2800 3000 3200
Grains 3 oz eq 4 oz eq 5 oz eq 5 oz eq 6 oz eq 6 oz eq 7 oz eq 8 oz eq 9 oz eq 10 oz eq 10 oz eq 10 oz eq
Vegetables 1 cup 1 ½ cups 1 ½ cups 2 cups 2 ½ cups 2 ½ cups 3 cups 3 cups 3 ½ cups 3 ½ cups 4 cups 4 cups
Fruits 1 cup 1 cup 1 ½ cups 1 ½ cups 1 ½ cups 2 cups 2 cups 2 cups 2 cups 2 ½ cups 2 ½ cups 2 ½ cups
Dairy 2 cups 2 cups 2 cups 3 cups 3 cups 3 cups 3 cups 3 cups 3 cups 3 cups 3 cups 3 cups
Meat/Bean/Nuts 2 oz eq 3 oz eq 4 oz eq 5 oz eq 5 oz eq 5 ½ oz eq 6 oz eq 6 ½ oz eq 6 ½ oz eq 7 oz eq 7 oz eq 7 oz eq

Portion Sizes

NickJr has developed printable portion size charts for children 2 to 6 years old and for children 6 years and older*.  These charts provide easy to understand estimates of portion sizes.

* Reference: http://www.nickjr.com/kids-health/eating-healthy/portion-control/portion-sizes-for-kids_ap.html

Summary

In this section we provided details on the 5 food groups; estimates of serving sizes based on age and activity level. In the next section we will provide details on caloric needs of children based on age and activity level.  We will also provide easy to use meal plans based on caloric needs.