What Does a Serving Size Look Like?

Size matters (we always knew that) but it really matters when it comes to portion sizes.

Know what one serving of protein really looks like? You might be shocked, it’s a measly 75 g (2 ½ oz.) or 125 mL (½ cup) cooked fish, shellfish, poultry or lean meat.

Check out what a serving size is according to Canada’s Food Guide:

Vegetables and Fruits

    125 mL (½ cup) fresh, frozen or canned vegetables or fruit, cooked or raw


1/2 cup (125 mL) cut up broccoli
  • 125 mL (½ cup) 100% juice, vegetable or fruit
Which is the correct serving size? If you picked the tiny glass on the right give yourself an A – limit fruit juice to 1/2 cup (125 mL) per day.
  • 250 mL (1 cup) leafy raw vegetables (like spinach, arugula, etc.) or salad
1 cup (250 mL) of leafy greens are a must. I grab a big handful and call it a day!
  • 125 mL (½ cup) cooked leafy vegetables (like spinach, kale, bok choy, etc.)
The dreaded shrinkage. One serving of cooked greens is 1/2 cup (125 mL)


  • 1 piece of medium sized fruit
Three oranges all different sizes. A medium orange which would be one serving is somewhere between the large orange and the tiny one.
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) dried fruit
Prunes, dried cranberries, blueberries, raisins – all you need is 1/4 cup (60 mL)
  • 125 mL) 1/2 cup berries
BC Blueberries are my favourite. Fresh in season and frozen local berries are not only heart healthy but may reduce your chances of developing certain cancers,

Grain Products

  • 1 slice (35 g) bread or ½ bagel (45 g)
When was the last time you only had half a bagel?
  • ½ pita (35 g) or ½ tortilla (35 g)
  • 125 mL (½ cup) cooked rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa, bulgur
1/2 cup (125 mL) of cooked whole grains. Use a measuring cup to make sure you are getting the right portion size.
  • 30 g cold cereal (see measurement size on the box of cereal) or 175 mL (¾ cup) hot cereal
3/4 cup (175 mL) of cold cereal is all you get for one serving.

Milk and Alternatives

  • 250 mL (1 cup) milk
  • 250 mL (1 cup) fortified soy beverage, shake well before pouring
  • 175 g (¾ cup) yogurt
Stick with plain unsweetened yogurt. Add fruit or berries yourself instead of buying the sweetened with fruit versions.
  • 50 g (1 ½ oz.) cheese
Not much……a serving size isn’t very big.
  • 125 mL (½ cup) evaporated milk
  • 175 g (¾ cup) Kefir


Meat and Alternatives

  • 75 g (2 ½ oz.) or 125 mL (½ cup) cooked fish, shellfish, poultry or lean meat
A serving is about the palm of your hand. Poultry, beef, and fish.
  • 175 mL (¾ cup) cooked beans
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 mL (2 Tbsp) peanut butter
  • 60 mL ( ¼ cup) shelled nuts
  • 150 g  or 175 mL (¾ cup) tofu
The alternatives in the meat category.

To learn about how much food you (based on age and sex) should be eating every day click here

Based on Canada’s Food Guide if you are a 19-50 year old female you would need:

Vegetables and Fruits 7-10 servings:

If you have a glass of 100% juice and a banana with breakfast, an apple as a morning snack, an orange and some cut up veggies with lunch, a small salad and two servings of vegetables with dinner, plus some dried fruit as an evening snack you will end up with 9 servings for the day. Make the salad bigger and you will have 10 servings in total for the day.

Grain Products 6-7 servings:

If you have a large bowl of cereal  for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch,  and 250 mL (1 cup) of pasta or brown rice with dinner and you will end up with 6 servings of grains for the day.

Milk and Alternatives 2 servings:

If you have milk on your cereal and a glass of milk at lunch or dinner you will end up with 2 servings for the day.

Meat and Alternatives 2 servings: over 50 add one more serving to maintain muscle strength

If you have a an egg sandwich for lunch using one egg,  two tablespoons (30 mL) of nuts as a snack mid afternoon, and one serving of poultry for dinner you will end up with 2 servings of meat and alternatives for the day. (One egg and 2 tbsp. (30 mL) of nuts are both half servings added up in the day to give you one complete serving of meat and alternatives)






5 thoughts on “What Does a Serving Size Look Like?”

  1. Thank you Mairlyn for the extremely helpful article. I can never relate to a portion size is that of a baseball. Who has a baseball hanging around in the kitchen? You have made portion control very clear to me. Thank you again.


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