Serving Size and Frequency Guidelines

Estimating Serving Sizes

A serving of fruit or vegetables is 1 cup fresh, cooked or juiced or 1/2 cup dried – with a few exceptions. 1 cup is a portion about the size of a large fist or baseball. Exceptions include:

  • Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.): one serving is 1 cup cooked or 2 cups raw.
  • Beans and peas: 1 cup beans/peas/tofu equals 2 veggie burgers or 8 tbsp hummus or 4 falafel patties.

Estimating Frequency

Regularly eaten (one or more servings a day)

These are the types of foods you eat a full serving of one or more times a day. For most Americans, few foods fall into this category.

Occasionally eaten (one to six servings per week)

Even if you feel you eat something regularly, if it’s in small amounts – less than a full serving each time – it will likely fall somewhere in this range.

  • Half a serving a day of tomatoes equals three servings a week. Choose: three to six full servings per week.
  • A large head of broccoli is four servings. If you eat one head a week, choose: three to six full serving per week. Keep in mind that the serving is smaller if shared with others.

Seasonally eaten (less than a serving per week)

Seasons amount to three months or about 12 weeks. What does this mean for consumption? For example, if you eat seasonal fruits or vegetables over the summer, but not at other times of the year, just take the amount of times you eat that food per week and multiply that by 12.

For example, if you eat watermelon three times per week during the summer, multiply three times a week by 12 weeks of summer, for 36 total servings. That averages out to three servings per month.

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