Figure 1-1. Cup- and Ounce-Equivalents

Within a food group, foods can come in many forms and are not created equal in terms of what counts as a cup or an ounce. Some foods are more concentrated, and some are more airy or contain more water. Cup- and ounce-equivalents identify the amounts of foods from each food group with similar nutritional content. In addition, portion sizes do not always align with one cup-equivalent or one ounce-equivalent. See examples below for variability.

green beans

½ cup portion of green beans =
½ cup-equivalent vegetables


1 cup portion of spinach =
½ cup-equivalent vegetables


½ cup portion of
strawberries =
½ cup-equivalent fruit

orange juice

¾ cup portion of
100% orange juice =
¾ cup-equivalent fruit


¼ cup portion
of raisins =
½ cup-equivalent fruit


1 slice of bread =
1 ounce-equivalent grains

brown rice

½ cup portion of cooked
brown rice =
1 ounce-equivalent grains

fat-free yogurt

6 ounce portion of
fat-free yogurt =
¾ cup-equivalent dairy

cheddar cheese

1½ ounces portion of
cheddar cheese =
1 cup-equivalent dairy

Large egg

1 large egg =
1 ounce-equivalent
protein foods

Spoon with peanut butter

2 tablespoon of
peanut butter =
2 ounce-equivalents
protein foods


1 ounce portion
of walnuts =
2 ounce-equivalents
protein foods

Black beans

½ cup portion
of black beans =
2 ounce-equivalents
protein foods


4 ounce portion
of pork =
4 ounce-equivalents
protein foods