With the holidays approaching, it’s easy to justify indulging in all the sweet temptations the season has to offer. It’s a time often spent with family and close friends surrounded by mounds of homemade food including sodium-rich dishes and sugary candy. While you may feel obligated to try everything on the table, there are many ways to avoid overeating. Living a healthy lifestyle does not have to expire during the holidays. Using these four simple tips, learn how to make healthier choices when it comes to facing any feast
1. Everything in moderation
It may sound cliché, but it’s a motto to live by. Portion control will allow you to enjoy the foods you love without overindulging. If you don’t know the proper portion sizes of your favorite foods, just use your hand!
- A 3- to 4-oz. serving of meat is approximately the size of your palm.
- A proper portion of grains such as rice or pasta is equivalent to the size of your fist. Use this rule for fruits and vegetables as well.
- For sauces, gravies and other condiments, use your thumb, which is equivalent to two tablespoons.
2. Match your plate with MyPlate
MyPlate is a simple way to ensure you’re eating well-balanced meals to receive the nutrients your body needs. To create a healthy plate, follow these steps:
- Dedicate half of your plate to raw, steamed or lightly seasoned fruits and veggies.
- Make a quarter of your plate grains (preferably whole grains). Whole grains are loaded with fiber and will fill you up faster and for a longer period of time.
- Choose lean meats and meatless protein sources when possible to reduce excess fat consumption. This means opting for white meat when eating turkey. Another option is to prepare mixed dishes with beans instead of meat (try this vegetarian baked cranberry beans recipe).
- Find unique ways to incorporate dairy in your meals for a well-rounded holiday plate.
3. Control the menu
No need to hover over the veggie platter at holiday parties. If you’re nervous about attending a gathering due to limited healthy options, there is a solution! Avoid these awkward situations by contributing a nutrient-packed side dish or appetizer. Bringing your own dish will ensure that you have at least one better-for-you option to choose from.
4. Be mindful
Take charge of your calorie intake by being mindful of your eating habits this time of year. When you eat, stay present and fully enjoy the food in front of you. For appetizers, plate (or napkin) a small portion of what you want to try rather than picking at the serving dish. This way, you can keep track of the amount you’re eating. Another great tip is to try to find a low-cal drink, such as flavored sparkling water, to sip on while waiting for dinner. This will help you feel engaged with the pre-meal festivities and will curb your appetite without the extra calories!