Pregnancy Nutrition

Serving Size

You may be accustomed to thinking of a serving as a "helping" or a plateful. Using this type of standard, the recommendation of 6-11 servings of grains a day seems overwhelming. Who can eat 6 bowls of cereal, or 6 plates of pasta!

A serving is not the same as a helping. In fact, most "helpings" are actually two or three servings of a given food. For example, most cereals have a serving size of about 3/4 to 1 full cup, or 8 oz. But most bowls in which cereals are eaten hold 2 cups or more. Fill the bowl with cereal, and you've got two servings of grains.

Grains

A serving from the grain group is 1 to 1 1/2 ounce, which is 1 slice of bread, 1/2 an english muffin or hamburger roll, about 1 cup of ready to eat cereal or about 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, pasta or rice.

Vegetables

A serving of a vegetable is 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables or 1/2 cup of other vegetables whether cooked or raw.

You may also count 3/4 cup of vegetable juice as one serving but when vegetbles are juiced you lose the fiber. For the best digestion you will need to maintain a good proportion of fiber in your diet, so try not to replace more than one fruit serving with juice per day.

Fruit

A serving of fruit is 1 medium fruit (about the size of your fist) or 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked or canned fruit.

You may also count 3/4 cup of fruit juice as one serving, but when fruit is juiced you lose the fiber. For the best digestion you will need to maintain a good proportion of fiber in your diet, so try not to replace more than one fruit serving with juice per day.

Dairy

A serving of dairy food is 1 cup of milk or yogurt. You may also count 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of a natural cheese or 2 ounces of a processed cheese as one serving.

Low fat versions of dairy foods use the same serving size as full fat versions.

Meat

A serving of meat is 2-3 ounces, roughly the size of a deck of cards. This is true whether you want to eat beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bison, venison, ostrich or quail.

You may also count 1/2 cup of cooked beans or tofu, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or 1/3 cup of nuts.