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Whenever you read about diets, you frequently see the phrase "serving size". Here's a guide to what is generally mean by that phrase. Listed below are examples of selections from the major food groups, followed by real-life size equivalents.

Breads, cereals, rice, and pasta
An average bagel Size: a hockey puck
A medium potato Size: a computer mouse
1 cup of rice or pasta Size: a personal cassette player
1/2 cup of cooked rice Size: cupcake wrapper
1 cup of dried cereal Size: a large handful

1 medium fruit Size: a tennis ball
1 cup of fruit Size: a baseball
1/2 cup chopped fruit Size: 15 marbles
1/4 cup of raisins Size: 1 large egg

1 cup of lettuce Size: 4 leaves
1 cup vegetables (chopped) Size: a fist
1/2 cup vegetables (chopped) Size: a standard light bulb

3 ounces of meat Size: a deck of cards
Size: a cassette tape
Size: a bar of soap
1 ounce of meat Size: a match box
Size: a floppy diskette
3 ounces of grilled fish Size: a checkbook

1.5 ounces natural cheese Size: 3 dominoes
Size: a 9-volt battery
Size: a bar of hotel soap
1 ounce cheese Size: 4 dice
Size: 1 small child's block
Size: 2 saltine crackers

Fats, Oils, and Sweets
1/2 cup of frozen yogurt Size: a tennis ball
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise Size: a ping pong ball
1 teaspoon of mayonnaise Size: the tip of a thumb to the first joint
Size: 1 dice
1 ounce of snack foods (e.g. pretzels) Size: 1 large handful

Useful Links
  1. Nutrition Facts Panel on Food Labels
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration has developed this guide to help you understand how to read food labels. The topic is explained clearly, with a lot of good illustrations. Serving sizes and nutritional information are discussed in detail.

  2. Serving Size Surprises
    A subsidiary of Aetna insurance company, IntelliHealth provides an interactive game that is geared toward teaching you about serving sizes. Click on as many foods as you like. By the time you're through, you'll understand a lot about correct serving sizes and be on your way to more accurate calorie-counting.
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