Eileen Dutter, R.D.
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The holiday season is the most wonderful — and least healthy — time of the year for many people. Luckily, creating your plate with health in mind does not need to be complicated. Here are six easy tips to make eating during the holidays fun and simple:
- Drink water and exercise before your meal.
Drinking water and exercising before your meal may help curb your appetite. Water is an excellent substitute for alcohol and soda at holiday meals. Focus on drinking water at your holiday gathering, and opt for a zero-calorie or low-calorie drink.
- Eat a light meal or snack before you arrive.
Eating before you arrive will make you feel less hungry at the meal. You will be less likely to fill your plate with more food than you actually need.
- Keep a positive mindset when creating your plate.
Does healthy eating make you think of all the foods you can’t eat? Instead, try focusing on all of the foods you can eat. This will help you establish healthy eating habits. Making the same healthy eating choices over time can lead to better eating habits.
- Stay conscious of portion sizes by using a smaller plate.
Understanding how portion sizes can affect your appetite is important to a healthy lifestyle. The larger the portion size in front of you, the more you will eat — even if you would have been satisfied with a smaller amount of food. To prevent yourself from overeating, try using a smaller plate instead of a larger one. Larger plates make food portions appear smaller. Conversely, small plates look full with less food. Choosing a salad plate instead of a dinner plate will make a noticeable difference in controlling portion sizes.
- Use the Half Your Plate concept.
Fill half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables for your holiday meal. Fill the other half of your plate with lean protein and carbohydrates. Your portion of lean protein should be around the size of a deck of cards. Your portion of carbohydrates should be around half a cup. Choose a grilled, baked or broiled protein rather than a fried or breaded one. Limit the amount of cream sauces, gravy, butter and sour cream you take.
- Eat your meal slowly.
Quickly eating your food may lead to overeating and unnecessary calorie intake. Instead, eat your food slowly and in controlled portions. Stop eating once you feel 80 percent full. If you are unsure of how full you are, stop eating and wait 20 minutes. Try to refrain from going back for seconds.
Are you ready to start cooking for the holidays? Consider using these delicious, healthy and calorie-friendly recipes: