Slow Down on Seconds!!

Navigate the holiday feasts with ease! Enjoy family, fun, and food without overindulging. Discover five practical tips to control portions and stay healthy.

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Sheri, RN

Head of Nursing Services

As the holiday season moves forward, we know what that means… family, fun, laughter, love and food, food, food!!!

Avoiding feast after feast is difficult during the holiday season. As a culture, we form memories and moments around the dinner table. We eat for the nostalgia. We eat to socialize. And we eat as a way to pass time while we spend time with family and friends. But can we still enjoy our time without overeating? Of course, we can! But, how? Let’s dive into the top ways to avoid diving into too much food.

Do I want another serving?

I grew up in a big Italian family, food was never unavailable. Turning away another helping of pasta was practically a crime! As I have struggled with being overweight for my entire life, finding ways to cut back on portions, without insulting my mom, has become a self-proclaimed artform! I have 5 tips to make it work!

1) Use a smaller dinner plate. Seems simple enough, and how can this really work? It’s a mind game, a matter of perception. By using a smaller dinner plate, the portion appears larger. You can be the Houdini of your serve ware! Large plate, small portion, seems too small! Small plate, small portion seems just right!! You can take it one step further and even eat with smaller utensils!!

2) Put down the fork and use your hands! Ok, let me clarify, I don’t want you to eat with your hands (although some research does support this helps slow down eating which can decrease consumption). Use your hand as a measurement guide. When I don’t have a scale to measure my portions, I look to my palm. And not for my fortune. I eat a portion of protein that is the size of my palm, half a palm size in carbs, and fill the rest of my plate with veggies! It’s a quick and easy rule to follow.

3) Don’t skip meals. This is hard one for me. I am busy with work, home and play. We all are. So, finding time to eat my meals and snacks can be challenging. However, eating regular and scheduled meals, will help eliminate binging when you feel famished! Keep high protein snacks available while you are on the go. Things such as nuts, cheese sticks, protein bars, jerky and protein shakes, will keep you satisfied, so you don’t feel compelled to overeat. **If you plan on being on the go for the day, pack a small lunch bag with ready to eat protein snacks, and skip the drive through!

4) My kids have learned to love this one, or at least tolerate it! Eat your green before your white! Now don’t get fixated on the colors, all I am saying is eat your veggies before your carbs. Why would that matter? As we already mentioned, eating slowly, will stimulate the feeling of fullness. Veggies take longer to chew, slowing down your meal. And as if that wasn’t enough, veggies are a good source of fiber. Fiber is filling and stabilizes your blood sugar, avoiding that dreaded crash that makes you FEEL hungry soon after your meal. SO, eat your protein, load up on veggies, and if your still hungry, move to the potatoes.

Ok, let’s take this home with my final tip!

5) You may be sick of hearing me say this but drink more water! Yup, I’m at it again, stay hydrated. Water does wonders for our body and mind. Feel hungry? Drink 8oz water, wait 10 minutes and see if you still feel hungry. Having a few drinks with friends? Drink a glass of water in between drinks, it will keep you hydrated and help you have a better wake up! Have a large family feast in front of you? Drink a glass of water before dinner, it will help take up space in your stomach, and will help with digestion. Hydration will help with gut health, mental clarity and energy, keeping you focused through the holidays!

As I have said before, enjoy your time with family and friends. Eat and be merry! Social health is imperative to our wellbeing, so have fun! But eating too much, doesn’t make it more fun. The quantity of food we eat isn’t what makes our memories last. It’s simply the memories! I hope you are all having an amazing holiday season, thank you for taking time with me during your busiest time of the year!

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