What Is a Serving Size?

serving-size Credit: Ashton/CC-BY 2.0

A serving size is the amount of food or drink that is recommended or generally served. The MyPlate program, which replaced the food pyramid, offers serving sizes for a variety of foods and food groups. Labels on packaged food items also list serving sizes.

On packaged foods, the serving size is at the top of the Nutrition Facts label, above servings per container. Serving sizes are standardized to make it easier for consumers to compare similar foods. The label provides calorie and nutrient information based on the serving size. Thus, if the serving size is 1 cup but a person eats 2 cups, the calories and nutrient contents must be multiplied by two.