The holiday season is both a joyous and challenging period for many people. This festive time of year brings friends and family to our tables in addition to seasonal fare. Indulging in all the sweet and savory treats of the holidays is a delightful tradition for many families. However, the subsequent weight gain associated with over indulgence tends to make the annual festivities a difficult time for those trying to lose or maintain body weight. Try building your holiday plate this year with a different strategy so you can enjoy the good foods and maintain a healthy weight.
HOW TO DO IT
We cannot always control the quality of the food on our table, but we are in charge of how much we consume. Portion control is an important factor when it comes to maintaining your weight during the holidays. We all know social gatherings tend to bring good food- and in large quantities. Follow these simple tips for building your holiday plate this year to avoid overeating and unnecessary weight gain.
- Section Your Plate. The first step should be to visually divide your plate in half. Most holiday dishware is larger than your day-to-day dinner tableware but this could be applied to any dish size.
- Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and legumes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) describes non-starchy vegetables as those with a low carbohydrate content. Common seasonal favorites include; beans, carrots, collard greens, green beans, celery, onion, okra, green squash, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, salad greens, mushrooms, beets, asparagus, and spinach.
- Fill one-half of the remaining open plate with 3oz of protein (the size of a deck of cards). This may be chicken, turkey, fish, cheese, bacalao, tofu, ham, eggs, duck, beef, pork, or shellfish. You can certainly mix and match your proteins if you prefer, but just don’t exceed your portion size (one-quarter of the entire plate).
- Fill the remaining open portion (the last quarter of the plate) with your higher starch options. Familiar choices include; cornbread, dinner rolls, fruit, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, rice, peas, rosca de reyes, tortillas, bolillo, telera, pasta, challah, kugel, tamales, stuffing, and corn. Mix and match your starches as you please, but just be sure to keep the portion to one-quarter.
- No matter what, do not go back for seconds! Stick with one plate and one plate only. You will likely indulge in pre-dinner appetizers and dessert and will not need seconds- even if they smell divine! However, taking a second portion home for leftovers is perfectly acceptable.
YOU CAN DO IT!
I know you might be thinking that fitting all of your favorites into their correct portions on one plate is impossible! In truth, you may need to reduce your usual serving sizes or omit a few items. For example, one dinner roll and half a scoop of mash potatoes for your starches instead of two dinner rolls and a heaping scoop of potatoes. Eating a little of everything is still very satisfying to the taste buds and will not leave you feeling deprived. I encourage you to try these tips this holiday and give your weight management efforts a boost!
Stay Active! Enjoy the holiday!