Teaching Serving Sizes
What Is a Serving?
A serving according to Canada's Food Guide is a reference amount to help you determine how much food you need from the four food groups every day. It is not necessarily the amount eaten at a single meal or snack.
A Food Guide serving may be close to what you would usually consume (e.g., one piece of fruit); however, in some cases, you may want to eat more than one Food Guide serving at a time (e.g., a bowl of pasta). Hunger and fullness are the best guides for determining the amount of food required, regardless of age.
Discussing Servings with Students
Understanding and measuring serving sizes is quite complex, even for adults! Younger students are not cognitively prepared to learn about serving sizes; instead, focus on identifying and choosing foods from each of the four food groups.
When students are better equipped to estimate serving sizes (grades 4-6) encourage them to determine whether the amount they are eating looks like a little (probably half a serving), a lot (probably 2 or more servings) or a normal amount (about 1 serving). Older students (grades 7-8) are prepared to explore serving sizes in more depth.