Portioning your Holiday Season


Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are right around the corner, and also around the corner are the festivities that you share with family, friends and loved ones in your life. In our culture it is common for food to be associated with the holidays ahead; Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham, as well as the countless side dishes and desserts that follow. It all seems intimidating, especially if you're trying to stick to eating healthy. So how do you indulge in the holiday favorites while still being mindful of healthy eating?

The answer is simple, portion control! It is an easy way to make sure you're keeping within your limits, not over eating, and still enjoying all the foods on the table.

We like to use Harvard University's School of Public Health's "Healthy Eating Plate" to help us portion our meals. This plate provide healthy guidelines for portioning fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy protein, healthy oils, and water. We consider dairy in combination with healthy proteins because dairy is a great source of protein. When using this method to build your holiday plate, you can set yourself up for success for big holiday meals ahead!

Here are 2 great example plates to help you be set for success during the holiday season ahead!

Example 2

  • Whole Grain: Whole Grain Dinner Roll (1 roll)
  • Healthy Protein: Ham (3 oz)
  • Vegetables: Squash ( 1-2 cups)
  • Fruit: Winter Fruit Salad (1 cup)
  • Healthy Oils: Butter/Margarine for roll (1 tsp)
  • Water: 1 glass (8 oz)

Example 1

  • Whole Grain: Potatoes (1/2 cup)
  • Healthy Protein: Skinless Turkey Light/Dark Meat (3 oz)
  • Vegetables: Salad (1-2 cups)
  • Fruits: Cranberry Sauce (1/2 cup)
  • Healthy Oils: Light Salad Dressing (2 tbsp)
  • Water: 1 glass (8 oz)

I hope you all have a happy thanksgiving, and wish you all success in the holiday season, hoping you enjoy time with family and friends!

Andrea Knott, Nutrition Intern

Bridgewater State University, Health Studies