Foods are grouped into the following
categories for a plate format. The amount of space that each food group should
take up on your plate is stated.
Serving size is listed for each
food. You can estimate serving size using the size of your fist as about 1 cup
or about 1 medium whole fruit.
Choose a food from this group to
take up one-fourth of your plate for each meal.
1 slice of bread
1 ounce of
ready-to-eat cereal (check the label for quantity that equals 1
½ cup cooked cereal, pasta, rice, or other cooked
¼ cup cooked dry beans, lentils, split peas, or
1 small potato
½ cup sweet potato or
1 cup winter squash
Choose foods from this group to take up
half of your plate for each meal. You may choose to omit this group at your
1 cup raw leafy vegetables
other vegetables, cooked or chopped raw
Choose a food from this group for each
1 piece of fruit, such as a medium apple or
½ cup chopped, cooked, or canned
½ cup juice
¼ cup dried fruit
Milk and yogurt
Choose a food from this group for
1 cup (8 ounces) fat-free or 1% milk or
low-fat, sugar-free yogurt
You may sometimes choose ½ cup pudding or ice cream.
Choose a food from this group to take
up one-fourth of your plate at each meal. You may choose to omit this group at
breakfast. For the serving size of this group, use a serving that is about the
size and thickness of a deck of cards.
2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or
Count the following as equal to 1 ounce of meat:
½ cup cooked dry beans
Limit egg yolks to 3 or 4 per week. You may choose to have fewer egg
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 ounce of cheese
¼ cup cottage cheese
¼ cup cooked dry beans,
lentils, split peas, or corn
4 ounces of tofu
Fats, sweets, and alcohol
Eat fats, sweets, and
Be careful not to eat too much saturated fat
(animal fat or fat that is solid at room temperature). Saturated fat usually is
found in meat, cheese, and butter. Choose foods with more monounsaturated fat,
such as olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts, or olives. Possible choices
1/8 of an avocado
oil-based salad dressing
1 teaspoon soft margarine or oil
Talk to your registered dietitian about ways to
have limited amounts of sweets in your meal plan.
You can use
artificial sweeteners such as saccharine, aspartame (NutraSweet), and sucralose
(Splenda). You also can use saccharine and sucralose in place of sugar in
baking and in coffee and tea. But people who have the rare disease
phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot have aspartame, because it contains
If you drink alcohol, limit it to no more than 1
drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men. Note for women who are pregnant: No amount of alcohol is known to be safe for the developing baby (fetus).
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.