Diabetes: The Truth About Food Serving Sizes

Confused about how much you can eat when you have diabetes? First you need to know how much food is in a serving. It may be different from what you expect.

Let’s say you eat a cup of rice at dinner. But a serving is actually considered 1/3 cup. So you got three times as many carbs as you thought.

To outsmart those mistakes, get to know what a serving size really holds. And for expert help, talk to your dietitian or a certified diabetes educator.

Fruits: 1 Serving

1/2 banana

1 small apple, orange, or pear

1/2 cup chopped, cooked, or canned fruit

Vegetables: 1 Serving

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: 1 Serving

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: 1 Serving

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

1 egg (or an equal 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: 1 Serving

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 August 27, 2015



American Diabetes Association: "Food & Portion Size."

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NCID): "What I need to know about Eating and Diabetes."

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