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What is the difference between a serving and a portion?

When my nine year old serves himself to macaroni and cheese the amount of food on his plate is much larger than the amount on his 11 year old cousin's plate. The info on the box says 2 oz is a serving. In my grandson's case, I would guess that his portion is about two or more servings. How can I determine how much macaroni to cook? Has anyone else encountered this problem?

8 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Greenman you asked what is the difference between a serving and a portion.

    The answer is this.

    Many people equate serving size to portion size, but the two are not the same. Understanding serving sizes is an important tool when you are following the Food Guide Pyramid's recommendations regarding intake of the different food groups. It is also the key to losing excess weight and keeping it off. The difference between portion size and serving size is large enough that it could derail your healthy efforts.

    Definition of Serving Size

    The serving size of a given food is the amount recommended by Fruits, vegetables and milk are measured in 1-cup servings and whole grains and meats and beans are measured in 1-oz. servings. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the serving size of the food groups is determined by the typical portion size as determined through surveys and the nutrient content of the food. The number of servings from each food group you need to eat each day depends on sex, age and level of physical activity.

    Definition of Portion Size

    A portion is simply the amount of food you choose to eat. This means that you may eat less or more than the serving size of a food. Reading labels carefully is important because if your portion is equivalent to more than one serving, you are consuming more fat, calories, sodium, cholesterol and sugar than the nutrition panel lists. For example, if a serving of ice cream is a 1/2 cup with 200 calories and 23g of sugar and you eat 1 1/2 cups, you have eaten 600 calories and 69g of sugar. The American Dietetic Association recommends eating off a small plate, which will help you reduce portion size naturally.

    Matching Serving Size to Portion Size

    To get a handle on your portions and align them with a proper serving, you may need to weigh and measure your food. Use measuring cups and spoons and a kitchen scale so you can see what an actual serving is. You may be surprised to discover that your portions are way more than a serving is. If you are trying to lose weight, this simple practice can help you cut calories and lose pounds without much effort. Eat from dishes rather than out of the package so you can control how much you serve yourself.

    Typical Servings

    Many people are unaware of what a serving of food is and this makes it hard to stick to the daily recommendations. A serving of grains is equivalent to one slice of bread, 1 cup of cold cereal and a 1/2 cup of rice or pasta. A serving of fruits or vegetables is 1 cup raw or cooked or 1 cup of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice. A serving of dried fruit is a 1/2 cup and 2 cups of leafy greens equals one serving. A serving of the meat or beans groups is 1 oz. of meat, poultry or fish, 1/4 cup cooked beans, one egg or 1 tbsp. of peanut butter. A serving from the dairy group is 1 cup of milk or yogurt, or 1 1/2 oz. of cheese.

    Source(s): LB
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  • 8 years ago

    No difference between the two.

    Both mean the same thing.

    The 2 ounces listed on a box is generally raw macaroni.

    It should also show how much is a portion when cooked.

    I cook enough pasta to end up with 1 cup for each person, particularly if it is a hot dish with other ingredients, plus some extra. Keep in mind that pasta doubles in cooking(1 cup raw equals 2 cups cooked) and rice triples(1 cup raw equals 3 cups cooked)

    Left overs in our house ALWAYS have a home, usually as my lunch the next day.

    From a dietary stand point, hot dishes are 1 cup portions because it generally is a greater share of the meal. If your mac and cheese is a side dish served with a vegetable and a separate protein, 1/2 cup is the serving. ditto mashed potatoes or rice side dishes.

    Now those guidelines are for diabetic diet which is a good diet for anyone and is whats used in most diets like diabetic diet or weight watchers.

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  • Jodi D
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    A portion is a serving. The two words are interchangeable. defines portion as: an amount of food served for one person; serving; helping defines serving as: a single portion of food or drink; helping.

    Is the 9-year-old overweight? If not, let him choose how much to eat.

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  • 8 years ago

    If you make something that little kids love than expect them to eat more than what the serving size is. The nutritional label is there for people counting calories little kids burn lots so I would just let it pass. Good rule of thumb if your cooking for say 2 kids and an adult make 2 boxes better to have leftovers than not enough.

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  • 8 years ago

    Well the biggest difference is that a portion is a whole meal while a serving is generally used with smaller intaked foods. For example a portion of steak(because it's a meal) and a serving of brocoli(because it's part of a meal)

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  • 3 years ago


    Source(s): Reduce Diabetes Now
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  • Larry
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    You, the parent, should decide how much a nine year old should eat.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    IN WHAT WORLD IS 2.OZ A SERVING, OR PORTION OF MAC N CHEESE? FOR THAT MATTER???? You gotta get up into that Mac n Cheese... you got to savor it... at least 8oz... then you put your self to sleep, or you go mow the lawn if you got chores. 2.OZ.... please.

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