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USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine



Visual aids make 'portion sense'

Confused about what a half-cup serving of vegetables looks like? The following visual cues can help you develop good "portion" sense.

Visual Cue

Approximate Portion Size

(Food* = One FGP Serving of these Food)

a 1-cup serving is about the size of a baseball


About 1 cup

Food*: Green salad, frozen yogurt, medium piece of fruit, baked potato

or Woman's Fist


1/2 cup  of fruit, vegetables or starches is about a large handful
Rounded Handful


About 1/2 cup

Food*: Cut fruit, cooked vegetables, pasta, rice


1/4 cup of dried fruit is about the size of an egg
Large Egg
or Golf Ball

About 1/4 cup

Food: Dried fruit* (e.g. raisins)


3 ounces of meat is about the size of a cassette tape
Cassette Tape


About 3 oz.

Food*: Meat, Poultry


3 ounces fish is about the size of a checkbook


About 3 oz.

Food*: Grilled Fish


6 dice equal about 1 1/2 ounces cheese6 dice equal about 1 1/2 ounces cheese
Six Dice

About 1 1/2 oz.

Food*: Natural cheese

*Equal to one serving from the Food Guide Pyramid for these foods.

To learn more about the Food Guide Pyramid, see http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/Fpyr/pyramid.html


Cues for "Tip of the Pyramid" Foods

large handful equals about 1 ounce of snack foods

Rounded Handful
Approximate Size: 1 oz
Food: Pretzels or Snack Food

1 die equals about 1 tsp.

1 Dice
Approximate Size: 1 tsp.
Food:. Margarine, spreads

thumb tip equals about  1 Tbsp.

Thumb Tip
Approximate Size: 1 Tbsp.
Food: Mayonnaise, oils, dips

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