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Organic Bound

How Big Is a Serving?


January 2014

Only 1 in 4 of us eat the recommended amount of fruits and veggies every day. So most of us are missing out on the important nutrition (and fiber) — not to mention the great flavor — that produce delivers.

And we’d do even better by eating 7 servings a day or more. 

But don’t worry! A serving of produce is smaller than you think, so it’s not hard to get the recommended amount no matter which dietary guidelines you follow.

Overall, the amount of produce you need each day varies with how old and how active you are. Try this easy online fruit & veggie calculator from the CDC to figure out what you need.

According to the USDA, a “serving” of fruit or vegetables is 1/2 cup (1/4 cup for dried fruit), or about 1 cup of greens like spinach or lettuce. A piece of whole fruit (like a small apple or large orange) is 1 serving. (Get more examples here.)

Take time to visualize serving sizes for the foods you eat most:

  • A serving of fruits or vegetables should be about the size of your fist; larger for leafy greens like lettuce, smaller (about half) for dried fruit.
  • Measure a serving of some of your favorite foods into your dishes to see real portion sizes.
  • For any meal, fill half your plate with produce — good news for your weight, too, since it tends to be lower in calories!

Get more healthy eating resources from the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov.

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