The Servings System of VegPlate

Depending on the individual’s daily calorie requirement, VegPlate recommends consuming a given number of servings of foods that are part of the various food groups, and for each group a serving is a very precise quantity expressed in grams. The table below explains how big is each serving, while the section How many servings shows the optimal number of servings depending on energ

This applies only for adults, while for infants undergoing weaning, a table is available in VegPlate Baby.

schema porzioni PiattoVeg

In the figure, each "slice" of the dish is one of the food groups of VegPlate:

In aggiunta a questi, nello schema troviamo:

  • an open ring at the edge of the dish, which includes all food groups except the fats. This represents the foods rich in calcium, which is not, therefore, a group of different foods, but consists of calcium rich foods that belong to each single group, except that of fats.
  • The dark red sector formed by a part of the groups of nuts and fats: it represents the foods rich in essential fatty acids, that is particularly the omega-3 essential fatty-acids.
  • In the center of the plate, two half circles representing vitamin B12 and vitamin D, signify a particular attention for these two vitamins.
  • A saucer/glass to the upper right of the plate represents the "discretionary calories", those that we can consume in addition to the essential calories, which can also come from foods that do not contain nutrients, the so-called "empty calories".

What is a serving

Below is shown in detail what is meant by "serving" for the various foods of food groups.

The number of servings to consume is shown in How many servings section and varies depending on the calorie requirement; it is different during pregnancy and lactation.

A note on calcium rich foods: they are transverse to all the various food groups, so, for each food, it is indicated if this is a food rich in calcium and, if so, whether one serving equals 1 or 2 servings of calcium-rich foods. * indicates a portion, ** two portions.

The servings of calcium-rich foods are NOT in addition to those of the other foods: simply, consuming the various servings of the various foods, it is necessary to count which of these are also "calcium-rich foods" and make sure that there are at least 6 servings daily. This measure applies ONLY for diets with a lower calorie content. From diets of 1800-2000 on up, it is not necessary to pay attention to this, because the intakes of calcium are satisfied simply to including in the diet the suggested number of servings of the VegPlate food groups.


One serving of grains equals:

  • Wholewheat bread, crackers, toast, or breadsticks: 30 g

  • Grains (rice, barley, corn, wheat, spelt, kamut, oats, rye, millet, quinoa): cooked, 80 g; raw, 30 g.

  • Flours: 30 g

  • Pasta, couscous, bulgur: cooked 80 g, 30 g uncooked

  • Pop corn: 30 g

  • Ready to eat breakfast cereals: 30 g (if fortified with calcium,*)

  • Grain-based drinks: 200 ml (if fortified with calcium,**)

  • Potatoes (even if they are vegetables, they are treated as grains): 120 g

Foods rich in protein


  • Legumes: cooked 80 g, 30 g raw (if soy beans, *)

  • Tofu* or tempeh*: 80 g

  • Foods made from wheat gluten alone or in combination with soy or vegetable flour: 30 g

  • Soy drink (if enriched with calcium**): 200 ml

  • Soy yogurt: 125 ml


Remember that milk and dairy products and eggs are not necessary nor useful for the adequacy of a plant-based diet. Rather, they introduce harmful substances of animal origin, so it is preferable to exclude them from the diet. If it is decided to include them just the same, they must be consumed minimally, still giving preference to vegetable protein foods (up to a maximum of 20-40 g of cheese, up to 2-3 times a week, knowing that even low consumption is harmful, so it is best to avoid them altogether).

  • Cow’s milk**: 200 ml

  • Cow's milk yogurt*: 125 ml

  • Cheese*: 30 g

  • Eggs: no more than 1-2 per week.


  • Cooked and/or raw vegetables: 100 g (vegetables which constitute a serving of food rich in calcium: arugula*, turnip greens*, chicory*, cardoons*, broccoli*, artichoke*, chicory*, endive*)

  • Vegetable juice: 100 ml


  • Fresh fruit: 1 medium fruit (150 g)

  • Fruit cooked or cut up: 150 g

  • Fresh fruit dried: 30 g

  • Fruit juice: 150 ml (if fortified with calcium, *)

Nuts and oilseeds

  • Cream of nuts: 30 g

  • Cream of seeds: 30 g (seeds which constitute a portion of food rich in calcium: almonds*, sesame tahin *)

  • Nuts or seeds: 30 g (constitute a serving of food rich in calcium: almonds*, sesame*)


  • Oil, mayonnaise (and soft margarines): 5 g

Foods rich in omega-3

These foods are not a distinct group, they are foods in the groups of nuts and oil seeds and of fats.

  • Flaxseed oil 1 teaspoon, approximately 5 g

  • Flaxseed 3 teaspoons, about 10 g, to be consumed freshly ground

  • Chia seeds: 15 g

  • Shelled walnuts 30 g (about 6 walnuts)