Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Serving Sizes and Diabetes

Watching your serving sizes can help you keep the complications of diabetes in check. A dietitian or certified diabetes educator can tell you how many servings from each food group you should eat per day.

How much is a serving size? You'll find a list below, based on food groups. If you eat a larger portion, count it as more than one serving.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Diabetes-Friendly Summer Grill Recipes

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, WebMD's director of nutrition, created this delicious and colorful meal of grilled salmon with black bean corn salsa and salad. It's a low-calorie lunch or dinner that is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The balance of complex carbs, protein, and good fats makes it diabetes-friendly, too. Southwestern Grilled Salmon Makes 4 servings Ingredients cooking spray 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp chili powder dash of salt freshly...

Read the Diabetes-Friendly Summer Grill Recipes article > >

For example, a portion of rice using the chart below is 1/3 cup. The amount you eat may be 1 cup. This would count as three servings from the breads and starch group.

Fruits Serving Sizes

1/2 banana
1 small apple, orange, or pear
1/2 cup chopped, cooked, or canned fruit

Vegetables Serving Sizes

1 cup raw leafy vegetables
1/2 cup other vegetables cooked, raw (chopped), or canned
1/2 cup vegetable juice

Bread, Cereal, Rice, Starchy Vegetables, and Pasta Serving Sizes

1 slice of bread
1/2 English muffin, bun, small bagel, or pita bread
1 6-inch tortilla
4-6 crackers
2 rice cakes
1 ounce ready-to-eat cereal
1/2 cup cooked cereal, pasta, or bulgur
1/3 cup cooked rice
1 small potato or 1/2 large potato
1/2 cup sweet potatoes or yams
1/2 cup corn kernels or other starchy vegetables such as winter squash, peas, or lima beans

Nuts, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Dry Beans, Cheese, and Meat Serving Sizes

2-3 ounces cooked lean beef, veal, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, or fish
2-3 ounces low-fat natural cheese (such as Swiss, cheddar, Muenster, parmesan, mozzarella, and others)
1/2 cup cooked dry beans
1/4 cup tofu (bean curd)
1 egg (or equivalent serving of egg substitute)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 ounces processed cheese (American)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup canned tuna (packed in water)

Milk and Yogurt Serving Sizes

1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup low-fat yogurt (unsweetened or sweetened with aspartame or other artificial sweeteners)

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on June 25, 2013

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article