The USDA Food Guide Pyramid, some calorie counting charts and other nutritional guides make recommendations in terms of "servings."

Many people are unpleasantly surprised when they learn that a serving of a favorite food (pasta, for instance) is considerably smaller than the amount they're used to eating (a plate-filling mound of spaghetti).

But there's also a plus side, especially if you've found it difficult to eat enough fruits and veggies. As with the pasta, those serving sizes may be smaller than you expected and the recommendations easier to meet than you might have thought.

Here are sample serving sizes :

  • 1 serving of FRUIT: An apple, an orange, 1/2 cup berries, 1/2 grapefruit, 1/4 cup of fruit juice.
  • 1 serving of VEGETABLES: 1/2 cup raw or cooked veggies, 1 cup leafy raw greens, 1/2 cup peas, 1/4 cup vegetable juice.