Control food portions for a healthier holiday season

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year. Make it even better with these tips for a healthier holiday from CSU’s Kendall Anderson Nutrition Center.

Portion control

Thanksgiving turkey
Thanksgiving turkey

Many people gain weight over the holiday season (now through Jan. 1) and never truly lose that weight. Here are some tips to keep your weight in check:

– Use smaller plates. If you fill up one small plate, it still has the potential to be much less food than a less-full large plate.
– Take your time. Instead of rushing through your meal or snack, slow down and listen to your body; it will tell you when it is time to stop if you pay attention to it.
– Skip seconds. Leftovers are never a bad thing, and if you limit yourself to one plate you can enjoy a dessert without feeling guilty about it later.

How much turkey do I need?

In keeping with the portion control theme, choosing the right turkey size for your gathering can be a great way to keep yourself and others from overeating. It is a fairly simple process to determine how much turkey you need.

Step 1: Decide if you want to have leftovers or not.
Step 2: If you do not want leftovers, simply count one pound of turkey for each person that you will be serving.
Step 3: If you do want leftovers, count 1 1/2 pounds for each person you are serving.

Go heavy on the veggies

Fall veggies are some of the most exciting and flavorful of the whole year! Take advantage of this and load up your Thanksgiving Day meal with a variety of seasonal vegetables.

Some favorites are sweet potatoes, squash, onions, carrots, peas and pumpkins. All of these vegetables are high in nutrients, and they are tasty as well. You can add these to almost any dish for extra flavor, and if you do happen to overeat a little, it’s better to fill up on vegetables than on other starchy carbohydrates or desserts!

Reducing plate waste

Since October was National Food Month, we are going to continue our focus on reducing plate waste, which also fits nicely with portion control. The WorldWatch Institute has some tips to help us both keep our portions in check and reduce the amount of waste created.
Plan ahead – make a shopping list so you do not buy anything you don’t need.
Go small – use smaller plates and bowls to keep your serving sizes in check.
Store or dispose of leftovers properly – don’t leave your food out for longer than two hours, and compost any food scraps.

For more recipes and health tips, visit the Kendall Anderson Nutrition Center’s website, as well as the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest board.