When doing some quick converting in the kitchen, it's handy to know exactly how many ounces are in a serving. Generally, you can start with the fact that one cup equals eight ounces. Pretty straightforward, right? But things get a little more tricky when you're trying to measure out a widely varied type of food like vegetables.
To add to the confusion, serving size also varies because vegetables are shaped differently and some are incredibly leafy. Hopefully, we can help clear things up a bit for you to make getting all your veggies a bit less complicated.
Measurement Conversion Chart
It's one thing to know the number of servings you need in a day, but it's also helpful to know different measurements and how they convert. Here are a few common volume measurement conversions you should know.
- 1 cup = 8 ounces
- 1 pint = 2 cups
- 1 quart = 2 pints
- 1 gallon = 4 quarts
Vegetable Serving Size
Vegetables are essential for your diet, giving you an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fiber. So you want to make sure you're eating enough.
In general, one cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice (eight ounces) or two cups of raw leafy greens (16 ounces) can be considered as one serving from the vegetable group. And the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adults eat between two to three cups of vegetables a day.
Read more: The 18 Most Nutritious Vegetables
A Serving of Non-Starchy Vegetables
While all veggies are beneficial, if you're watching your weight, you may want to opt for non-starchy types and leafy greens because they have about a third of the calories of starchy vegetables and are lower in carbohydrates.
Some of the non-starchy vegetable selections include:
- Pea pods
A Serving of Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are part of the non-starchy veggie group, but they can be tricky to measure. If you chop up lettuce and fill up a one-cup measuring cup twice, which is 16 ounces in all, you'll get your single serving. Some examples of these are:
- Bibb lettuce
- Green and red leaf lettuce
If you like a steamed side of those dark leafy greens, such as collard greens, kale or Swiss chard, a single serving is equal to a half-cup of the cooked vegetable, or four ounces.
Read more: 10 Vegetables You've Probably Never Heard Of
A Serving of Starchy Vegetables
Starchy vegetables can certainly fit into your balanced diet, but be aware that a single serving has more calories and carbohydrates than non-starchy varieties. As with non-starchy vegetables, one serving of starchy vegetables means one cup or eight ounces.
Some examples of starchy vegetables are:
- White potatoes, diced or mashed
- Bean sprouts
- Cabbage, green
- Corn, yellow or white (one large ear)
- Green peas
- Squash, acorn and butternut
Meet Your Daily Vegetable Recommendation
The number of servings of vegetables you need depends on your age and gender. Adult women should aim for two-and-a-half cups, or 20 ounces, per day, while adult men need three cups, which is 24 ounces, daily.
Those recommendations remain constant until you reach your 50s. At that point, your caloric needs go down a bit. Women in this age bracket require two cups — 16 ounces — of veggies each day, while men need two-and-a-half cups, or 20 ounces.
Tips to Help You Eat More Veggies
If you're struggling to meet the daily recommendation for vegetables, you might be wondering if there are some easy ways to fit more veggies into your diet.
The good news is there are unlimited options when it comes to sneaking a cup of leafy greens or raw veggies into your meals.
- Make a dinner that includes a vegetable main dish, such as a vegetable stir-fry or soup.
- Shred carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, casseroles and muffins.
- Make a smoothie with fruit and vegetables like carrots, spinach, kale or beets.
- Include chopped vegetables in pasta sauce or lasagna.
- Order a veggie pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers and onions, and ask for extra veggies.
- Grill vegetable kabobs as part of a barbecue meal. Try tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers and onions.
- Serve a vegetable platter with your favorite dip as a side dish with lunch or dinner.
- Make vegetable-based soups like carrot soup, pumpkin soup or broccoli cheddar soup.
- Make spaghetti with zucchini noodles.
- Make a cauliflower pizza crust.
- Add vegetables to your omelet or scrambled eggs in the morning.
- Use lettuce as a wrap in place of a bun or bread for your burger or sandwich.
Read more: 10 Sneaky Ways to Eat More Vegetables
What Do YOU Think?
How many servings of vegetables do you get in a day? Are you meeting, exceeding or not even close to the recommended amount for adults? If you have some tips and tricks for upping your daily servings of vegetables, leave your ideas in the comments section!