The holiday season is upon us and that means an abundance of delicious celebratory meals. Thanksgiving leads the way with juicy turkey and colorful side dishes like stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, macaroni & cheese, sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, and more. Of course, this doesn’t include mouthwatering desserts like pecan pie, apple pie, and of course pumpkin pie.
With heavy-hitting, rich foods like these, it becomes incredibly easy to load up plate after plate after plate until you’re left feeling sick and sleepy. This leads up us to the topic of today’s post: the importance of portion control.
Generally speaking, portion control is something we should all be cognizant of regardless of large, festive meals. I know, I know – eating large heaping piles of creamy mac & cheese is WAY more fun than any sort of lean protein. However, that’s not to say you can’t have the best of both worlds.
If you want to lose some weight, or at least minimize the inevitable Thanksgiving bloat, there are ways you can break your plate down so you can enjoy yourself without going overboard. Let’s start with the biggest piece of the puzzle: protein.
Grab that plate and load up half of it up with turkey. That delicious bird that you spent all day roasting is chock full of protein which is important to any good diet. Protein has a myriad of good qualities. It helps keep us fuller for longer, it helps repair and maintain muscle mass, and it takes our bodies more energy to digest it meaning it gives our metabolism a slight boost. Another perk of protein is that it tends to be a lot harder to overeat. Even if you do? It’s VERY rare that your body will ever store excess protein as fat. Wins all around!
Next up on that plate: veggies. You knew it was coming. We’re adults here and we should all be eating our vegetables. These should make up the next biggest portion on your plate. Veggies should account for about a quarter of the space on your plate. In a normal situation you’d actually have the protein and veggie portions flipped where it’s half a plate’s worth of veggies and a quarter of protein. Choose what you will whether it be green bean casserole, broccoli, carrots, a side salad, or another veggie your family chooses to cook.
The last quarter of space on your plate? Use that for the fun sides. These can include mac & cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and more. While delicious, they are also more than likely the highest calorie items which is why we want you to enjoy them, but in limited quantities.
Need some more tricks to get your portion control under control? Here are several other tips you can utilize:
-Drink a large glass of water before you dine and while dining.
-Before getting up for seconds, sit tight for 10-15 minutes to let your brain catch up with your stomach. You may not feel full immediately after eating, but you will after you let some time pass
-Eat your protein first, veggies second, and the fun stuff last. This will ensure you put the emphasis on the healthier foods first!
-Use a smaller plate than normal. This tricks your brain into think you’ve got a lot more food than you actually do
No matter how you choose to load your plate, we at Alex Andujar Fitness hope you have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. Oh, and one last thing. Be sure to save room for dessert!