Average dinner size vs. suggested dinner size

Picture of suggested vs. average dinner portion size

The top image is an example of a typical meal in the United States. This meal has too many calories and too much fat, cholesterol, animal protein, salt, and sugar. It is missing whole grains and fresh fruits and doesn't have enough vegetables.

The bottom image shows a suggested dinner. Divide your plate into four parts to see how much space each food should take:

  • Bread, starchy foods, or grain should take up just one fourth of your plate.
  • Meat or another protein should also take up just one fourth of your plate.
  • Vegetables should fill the remaining half of your plate.
  • Have 1 small piece of fruit outside of your plate.
  • Have 1 cup milk or yogurt or ½ cup pudding or ice cream outside of your plate.

Last Updated: December 12, 2009

Author: Christine Wendt, R.D., L.D.

Medical Review: Ruth Schneider, MPH, RD - Diet and Nutrition & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Diabetes Educator

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