Serving Size and Nutrition

The rule of thumb is to serve 2 ounces of dry pasta per person for a first course or side dish, and 3 to 4 ounces per person for a main course. This is flexible, of course, depending on the amount of other ingredients in the dish.

As labeled on a retail package of dried pasta, the standard serving is 2 ounces (56 grams) of uncooked pasta. The cup measure approximating 2 ounces varies with the shape of the pasta. Some examples:

Pasta ShapeUncookedCooked
Elbows ½ cup 1 cup
Penne ¾ cup 1 cup
Ribbed Lasagne 2 1/2 pieces 2 1/2 pieces
Spaghetti 1/8 of a lb. carton 1 1/4 cups
Egg Noodles 1 1/4 cups 1 1/4 cups


Pasta is naturally low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates - the ideal food for a healthy diet. Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (55-65% of calories) and low in fat (25-30% of calories) with an adequate amount of protein (10-15 % of calories) results in a lower incidence of heart disease and cancer.

Pasta is the perfect canvas for a wide variety of great tasting ingredients. With its appealing versatility, pasta has taken a front and center position in the average American diet. Some important pasta nutritional facts:

  • Today the average American eats 19 pounds of pasta each year.
  • A 1/2 cup serving of cooked pasta contains 99 calories, less than half a gram of fat and less than 5 milligrams of salt.
  • As a complex carbohydrate, pasta is an excellent energy food. Stored as glucose in the muscles and gradually released during prolonged activity periods, pasta provides sustained energy.
  • Six to11 daily servings of complex carbohydrates are recommended in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid.
  • Since January 1, 1998 federal standards require pasta manufacturers to fortify pasta with folic acid, an important B vitamin proven to contribute to the healthy function of the body's central nervous system.

The following is a Nutrient Profile of a typical dried pasta product:


Serving Size 3/4 cup (55g)
Servings Per Container About 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 210 Calories from Fat 10

  %Daily Value
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
SODIUM 0mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Sugars 2g  

Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% Iron 10%
Thiamine 30% Riboflaving 10%
Niacin 15% Folic Acid 30%

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  Calories 2,000 2,500
Total Fat Less than 65g 80g
Sat Fat Less than 20g 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate   300g 375g
Dietary Fiber   25g 30g

Calories per gram
Fat 9  Carbohydrate 4  Protein 4