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Serving Size Guidelines

Many people assume the best way to make sure their family eats a healthy diet is to follow the daily USDA Food Guide Pyramid: 6 to 11 servings from the bread group; 3 to 5 vegetable servings; 2 to 4 fruits; 2 to 3 dairy; 2 to 3 meats or other protein; and limited oils and sweets. But it's important to know how to tailor these guidelines for each individual.

MAKING SENSE OF SERVINGS
For toddlers, less-active women, and older adults (50+), use the lower number of the above suggested servings as a guide; the higher numbers apply to teenage boys and active men. Older children, teenage girls, active women, and less-active men fall somewhere in the middle. (You're considered active if you get 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days.)

FEEDING TOTS
The pyramid was designed for adults and children over 2, but younger kids can follow it by simply eating smaller servings in each food group.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
Women who are pregnant or nursing, teenagers, and young adults, should have 3 servings of dairy. Kids between 1 and 2, who need essential fatty acids for their developing brain, need 2 cups of whole milk a day.

WHAT IS A SERVING?
BREADS

Bread

Ages 1-3: 1/4-1/2 slice

Ages 4-5: 1/2-1 slice

Ages 6 & UP: 1 slice

Cold cereal

Ages 1-3: 1/4-1/3 cup

Ages 4-5: 1/2 cup

Ages 6 & UP: 3/4 cup

Pasta, rice, or hot cereal

Ages 1-3: 1/4 cup

Ages: 4-5: 1/3 cup

Ages: 6 & UP: 1/2 cup

VEGETABLES

Cooked veggies

Ages 1-3: 1/8 cup

Ages 4-5: 1/4-1/2 cup

Ages: 6 & UP: 1/2 cup

Raw veggies

Ages 1-3: 1/4 cup

Ages 4-5: 1/2-1 cup

Ages 6 & UP: 1 cup

FRUITS

Cut up or mashed fruit

Ages 1-3: 1/8 cup

Ages 4-5: 1/4-1/2 cup

Ages 6 & UP: 1/2 cup

Juice

Ages 1-3: 1/4 cup

Ages 4-5: 1/2 cup

Ages 6 & Up: 3/4 cup

DAIRY

Milk or yogurt

Ages 1-3: 1/2 cup

Ages 4-5: 2/3 cup

Ages 6 & UP: 1 cup

Cheese (hard)

Ages 1-3: 1 oz.

Ages 4-5: 1-1 1/2 oz.

Ages 6 & UP: 1 1/2 oz.

Cottage cheese

Ages 1-3: 1 cup

Ages 4-5: 1 1/2 cups

Ages 6 & UP: 1 1/2 cups

MEATS

(or other protein)

Meat, poultry, or fish

Ages 1-3: 1 1/2 oz.

Ages 4-5: 1 1/2-2 oz.

Ages 6 & UP: 2-3 oz.

Beans (cooked)

Ages 1-3: 1/8-1/4 cup

Ages 4-5: 1/4-1/3 cup

Ages 6 & UP: 1/2 cup

Eggs

Ages 1-3: 1/2-1

Ages 4-5: 1 1/2-2

Ages 6 & UP: 1 1/2-2

Peanut butter

Ages 1-3: None (choking hazard)

Ages 4-5: 1-2 tbsp.

Ages 6 & UP: 2 tbsp.

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