What is a Serving?

The Food Guide Pyramid shows you how many servings from each major food group you should eat each day. How much is a serving? Read this to see how much food counts as a serving in each food group.

Preschool children need the same variety but may eat smaller servings. Preschoolers need two cups of milk or two servings of other milk products each day.

Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta

  • 1 slice of bread OR
  • ½ cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta OR
  • 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal


  • ½ cup of cooked or chopped raw vegetables OR
  • ¾ cup of vegetable juice OR
  • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables


  • 1 apple, banana, or orange OR
  • ¾ cup of fruit juice OR
  • ½ cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts

  • 2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish.

You can use other foods in place of meat. Eating one of these foods is the same as eating 1 ounce of meat:

  • ½ cup of cooked dry beans OR
  • 1 egg OR
  • 2 tablespoon of peanut butter

Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 ½ to 2 ounces of cheese
  • 1 cup of yogurt

Taken from "Tickle Your Appetite," Team Nutrition's Education Kit for Child Care. A program of the Food and Nutrition Services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. FNS-307; July 1998.