Font Size

Recommended Servings for Adults

Topic Overview

You can use the USDA food guideClick here to see an illustration. to make healthy choices about what you eat. The chart below shows the recommended amounts for adults to eat from each food group. These amounts are based on a diet of 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day.

For a food guide that shows how much to eat from each food group based on your specific calorie needs, go to the website

Sample foods

Food group

Amount needed each day


5–8 ounces

1 ounce is equal to:

  • 1 slice of bread.
  • 1 small (6-inch) tortilla.
  • 1 cup dry cereal.
  • ½ cup cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal.


2–3 cups

1 cup is equal to:

  • 1 cup raw or cooked vegetables.
  • 2 cups raw, leafy greens.
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz) vegetable juice.


1½–2 cups

1 cup is equal to:

  • 1 cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit.
  • 1 large apple, orange, or banana.
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz) 100% fruit juice.
  • ½ cup dried fruit.


3 cups

1 cup is equal to:

  • 1 cup (8 fl oz) milk or yogurt.
  • 1½ ounces hard cheese.
  • 2 ounces processed cheese.

Protein foods

5–6½ ounces

1 ounce is equal to:

  • 1 ounce meat, poultry, or fish.
  • 1 egg.
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter.
  • ½ ounce nuts (12 almonds or 7 walnut halves).
  • ¼ cup cooked dried beans, peas, or lentils.
  • ¼ cup tofu.

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Medical Dictionary