Nutrition: Daily Serving Recommendations

The USDA recommends eating a variety of food groups every day. Based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, we should consume:

  • 6 oz. of grains. Make half of your grains whole grains for added fiber!
  • 2 ½ cups of vegetables. Vary the kind and color of your vegetables to make sure you’re getting a variety of nutrients. Dark green veggies provide iron while orange veggies provide beta carotene.
  • 2 cups of fruit.  Choose a variety of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit for fiber and vitamins.  Choose fruit juice that is 100% juice, but be aware that juices contain a lot of added sugar. Limit fruit juice as a part of your daily recommended consumption.
  • 3 cups of dairy.  Opt for low-fat or fat-free options.  If you’re lactose-intolerant, Smith offers a variety of soy and rice milk and yogurt options to supplement your calcium intake.
  • 5 ½ oz. of meat and beans.  Choose lean protein that has been baked, broiled, or grilled to limit fat intake. Fish, legumes, beans, seeds and nuts are protein alternatives to meat.

Incorporate good fats into your diet; this includes heart-healthy omega-fats from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.  Try to limit your trans-fat intake by limiting butter, margarine, and shortening. Read labels of products to determine their trans fat and sodium content, and make sure both ingredients are low.  Opt for low added sugar foods since refined sugar provides calories with little nutrients.

Nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all science. Everyone’s calorie-needs vary based on their lifestyle.  Go to this website to calculate your daily recommended caloric intake:

Being physically active is part of a balanced diet. Sitting with a book or in front of a computer all day makes your body and your mind tired.  Get up and move to give your mind a boost and to jump start your metabolism!

Portion Size

Portion size is tough to master when food is served buffet-style.  Learn to gauge a proper portion size of foods from every food group at these websites:

Nutrition Labels

The FDA provides a variety of information about nutrition and how to read nutrition labels here:

Here is another quick guide to what to pay attention to while reading a nutrition label:

Products boasting to be healthy options often use phrases such as these.  Here are guidelines companies must follow in order to label their products with these phrases:


Contains less than a 1/2 gram of fat per serving.


Contains less the fat or calories of the original version or a similar product.


Contains less than 3 grams of fat per serving.


Contains 1/3 the calories or 1/2 the fat per serving of the original version or a similar product.


Contains 1/3 the calories of the original version or a similar product.


Contains less than 5 calories per serving.


Contains less than 1/2 gram of sugar per serving.


Contains no preservatives (chemical or natural).


Contains no added chemicals to preserve the product. Some of these products may contain natural preservatives.


Contains less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.


Contains less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving.


Used mostly for potato chips, crackers or corn chips, this label means the product is usually sprayed with a lite oil then baked in an over instead of fried in the oil.


Smith College Dining Services

Dining Services at Smith is making it easier to get a balanced nutritious diet every day.  They have listed the type of foods they provide in the houses at:

Lamont, Morrow/Wilson, and Hubbard offer “healthy options” menus for students.  Check online at to pick the house that has the best menu to fit your tastes.  The Dining Staff is very friendly and willing to answer all your questions about preparation and ingredients.  If you’re unsure of what you’re eating, ask!


The following list of websites provides a selection of nutrition information that you may find useful in maintaining healthy nutrition in your eating habits.

CalorieKing Food Database – Nutritional facts for name-brand and generic American foods, including those on fast food menus.

Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion – agency of the USDA that researches and develops nutrition guidelines for consumers.  Links to MyPyramid, the Food Pyramid of dietary guidelines, menu planners, tips and suggestions for a healthy lifestyle.

Cooking Light – Recipes, menus, and fundamental cooking techniques. Articles on healthy lifestyle tips.

Eating Well – Recipes and food and health news.

Food Fit– Recipes and healthy eating and cooking tips.

International Food Information Council – Nutrition and food safety information. Links to news and publications about nutrition topics.

Nutrition Café– Fun site where you can design your menu and see how it meets your daily nutrition needs. Nutrition quiz games and links to dietary guidelines.

Nutrition Data – Discover the nutrients and ingredients of your favorite foods. Information on fatty acids, food additives, and processing.  Links to tools such as a daily caloric needs calculator.

Spark Recipes – Healthy recipes and a recipe calculator to find out the nutritional information for each one.

Got a question? Send us an email or ask a question below!


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