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The Ohio Department of Aging

Ohio Department of Aging Nutrition Guidelines and Resources

The Ohio Department of Aging provides guidelines and resources to support nutrition program service providers. Resources include a nutrition checklist for clients, a summary of federal dietary guidelines, tools to help determine appropriate serving sizes of certain foods and suitable dietary choices for people with diabetes.

Form ODA0010: Determine Your Own Nutritional Health

Summary of Dietary Guidelines - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture publish "Dietary Guidelines for Americans," which provide science-based advice to promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases through diet and physical activity. Here is a summary of those recommendations:

  • Reduce daily sodium rate to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduce intake to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 or older and those of any age who are African Americans or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acid by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol.
  • Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by choosing food that contain synthetic choices of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils and by limiting other solid fats.
  • Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.
  • Limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain food that contains solid fats, added sugars and sodium.
  • Consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals  or dietary supplements.
  • If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation.
  • Increase physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors.
  • Maintain appropriate caloric balance between each stage of life: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy and breast feeding, and older age.
  • Follow food safety recommendations when preparing and eating foods to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.


Serving Sizes for Breads and Bread Alternates - Use this chart to determine the proper serving size for certain breads and bread alternates. Whole grain products are preferred.


Serving Size

Animal crackers

8 crackers

Angel food cake

1/12 of cake or 2 ounces


1 ounce or one half of a large bagel


One 2.5-inch diameter biscuit


1 slice

Bread dressing/stuffing

1/2 cup

Cake (unfrosted)

One 2-inch square or one ounce

Cooked cereal

1/2 cup


4 to 6 crackers

English muffin

1/2 muffin

French toast

1 slice

Ginger snaps

3 snaps

Graham crackers

3 crackers that are 2.5-inch squares


1 ounce


4-inch diameter, 1/4-inch thick

Pasta, noodles or brown rice

1/2 cup


One 4-inch diameter or 1/2 6-inch diameter

Pudding (sugar free)

1/2 cup or 4 ounces

Quick bread One 2-inch square

Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified

1 cup or 1 ounce

Sandwich bun

1 small bun or 1/2 large bun


1 6-inch diameter tortilla

Vanilla wafers

5 wafers


One 4-inch square


Serving Sizes for Milk and Milk Alternates - Use this chart to determine the proper serving size for certain milk products and milk alternates.


Serving Size

Fat-free (skim) or 1% milk, buttermilk or chocolate milk fortified with vitamins A and D

8 ounces

Lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk

8 ounces

Yogurt, low fat, fortified with Vitamins A & D

6 ounces or 3/4 cup

Soy beverage or rice beverage enriched with calcium and vitamins A and D

8 ounces


1/2 cup

Hard, natural cheeses, prefer low-fat

1.5 ounces

Processed cheese, prefer low-fat

2 ounces

Juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D

8 ounces


Serving Sizes for Meat and Meat Alternates – Use this chart to determine the proper serving size for certain meat and meat alternates.


Serving Size

Cooked, lean meat, poultry or fish

1 ounce which is equivalent to 7 grams of protein

Cheese or processed cheese provided that these foods are pasturized and nutritionally equivalent to cheese,low fat preferred

1 ounce



Cooked, dried beans, peas, or lentils

1/2 cup

Peanut butter

2 tablespoons

Cottage cheese, low fat

1/4 cup


1/2 cup


Carbohydrate Choices Menu - The amount of carbohydrates you consume and the timing of your meals, rather than the source of carbohydrates, are the keys to controlling blood-sugar levels. One carbohydrate choice is equal to 15 grams of carbohydrates. This sample menu illustrates how carbohydrate choices can be used to plan a diabetic meal.


# Carbohydrate Choices


2 ounces of meat or meat alternate (with the exception of dried beans, peas and lentils, which are considered starchy vegetables)


2 ounces of baked chicken

1 serving of a non-starchy vegetable


1/2 cup of green beans

1 serving of a starchy vegetable


1/2 cup of mashed potatoes

1 serving of a fruit


1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce

1 serving of bread or bread alternate


One slice of whole wheat bread

1 serving of milk or milk alternate


8 ounces of low-fat milk