A portion is the amount of food that you choose toeat for a meal or snack. It can be big or small—youdecide.
A serving is a measured amount of food or drink,such as one slice of bread or one cup (eight ounces) of milk.
Many foods that come as a single portion actually contain multiple servings. The Nutrition Facts label onpackaged foods—on the backs of cans, sides of boxes,etc.— tells you the number of servings in the container.
For example, look at the label of a 20-ounce soda (typicallyconsumed as one portion), and you’ll see that it has 2.5servings in it. A 3-ounce bag of chips—which some wouldconsider a single portion—contains 3 servings.
For a look at recommended serving sizes, check out the NHLBI Serving Size Card (119 KB). For helpusing the Nutrition Facts label, visit the
Average portion sizes have grown so much over the past 20years that sometimes the plate arrives and there's enough food fortwo or even three people on it. These growing portion sizes arechanging what Americans think of as a "normal" portion at home,too. We call it portion distortion.
Check out these examples of how growing portions lead to increased calories: