Portion Control for Thanksgiving

4645939-friends-enjoying-lunch-at-home-togetherThanksgiving is a favorite of food lovers, and why not? Each person has a dish or dishes that are a must for the holiday table. It is not Thanksgiving for me without sweet potato casserole and pecan pie. While I am sure these two dishes would not make the healthy food list according to the Surgeon General, substituting a baked yam and a Splenda infused dessert just wouldn’t cut it.

However, it is very easy to overindulge in all that delicious food, and instead of enjoying the holidays, you may wind up with a giant case of indigestion. Here are 3 tips for portion control for Thanksgiving:

Eat Favorites First

Your plate can fill up very quickly when those holiday platters are passed around the table, so eat your favorites first. If Mom’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Homemade Yeast rolls are what makes your Thanksgiving brighter, enjoy every bite.

Take Small Portions

When you take small portions, you can enjoy a wider variety of food and not feel stuffed. Eat slowly and savor the different textures and tastes of your food. If you’re still not satisfied, you can always have a second helping.

Leftovers

Remember, you don’t have to eat all your favorites at one meal. It’s fun to create something different out of the leftovers. From the traditional turkey sandwich to something more creative like turkey hash or tetrazzini, there are more opportunities to indulge in holiday favorites.

Practicing portion control for Thanksgiving will allow you to enjoy your holiday meals without breaking the calorie bank.

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Portion Control 101

people-eating-pizza-7185744Food temptations are all around us, and if you have eaten in a restaurant lately, you are aware of the huge portions that are served. Sure, you can pack some up for another day, but too often you just keep eating because your favorite dish tastes so good. Eating too much, whether at home or somewhere else, can lead to weight gain, as well as contributing to health problems such as diabetes.

Don’t be discouraged. You can still eat your favorite foods, and by following these 3 tips for Portion Control 101, you won’t even feel deprived.

Food Labels

Learn to read the food labels on the items you buy at the store. Pay strict attention to the serving size. A bag of potato chips that you could eat in 15 minutes during a football game, is often designed to serve 8 people. Your goal is to eat one serving.

Measuring Cups/Spoons

Unless you’re Rachael Ray and can “eyeball” how much a serving consists of, measure out your portions. It’s too easy to overestimate when you’re eating a smaller serving such 1/4 or 1/2 cup. Once you’re used to doing this for awhile, you won’t have to be so precise.

Walk Away

Once you have finished eating, walk away. Don’t hang around to lick the bowl or beaters, take just one more spoonful, or scrape scraps from the baking dish. Put any leftovers away immediately so you are not tempted.

3 Smart Tips for Eating Out

cook serving lunchAfter a hard day at the office, or if you’re just in the mood to treat yourself, eating out sounds a lot better than slaving over a hot stove and washing a mound of dishes. Unfortunately, if you’re watching your weight, eating the large portions that a restaurant serves can derail your diet.

Here are 3 smart tips for eating out that will give you maximum enjoyment and allow you to stay on track:

Avoid the Buffet

The buffet is a food lover’s paradise. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, and hot bread and butter are just a few of the many delicacies waiting for your indulgence. My personal favorite are the desserts, and who doesn’t like a chocolate fountain that you can dip in everything you can get your hands on? Despite your best intentions, it is hard to eat in moderation, so save the buffet for holidays and special occasions.

Mix It Up

Scan your menu for new dishes to try. Many restaurants are jumping on the nutrition bandwagon and rolling out lighter options. The Cheesecake Factory has a new SkinnyLicious menu with dishes such as chicken enchiladas, turkey burgers, and grilled salmon.

Share The Joy

You may have a favorite dish at a particular restaurant, and that is what you want to order. Instead of biting the bullet and overindulging, share with someone at your table. If you’re dining alone, pack up half for lunch tomorrow, and you can enjoy the taste all over again.

By following these 3 smart tips for eating out, you’ll please your taste buds and still be on track with your diet program.

Diet Journaling Tips

I have struggled with binge eating, and find it very helpful to keep a diet journal. By keeping track of what you eat on a given day, you’ll be able to see that you are not always eating because you are hungry. By following these diet journaling tips, you’ll be able to track patterns in your eating that may be sabotaging your weight control program.

Plan Ahead

Each night before I go to bed, I plan and write out what I am going to eat the next day. Keeping track of calories is important, so I use a handy online resource that gives the calorie counts of common foods. My goal is to eat 1500 calories a day, so I plan my eating around that number. If I’m eating out, I pull up the online menu for the restaurant and plan my menu accordingly.

Identify Triggers

Life doesn’t always work out as planned, and when things go wrong, it’s tempting to look in the refrigerator for comfort. Before I break open a package of donuts and start eating, I write down why I am craving these donuts. Has someone hurt my feelings and I need a hug? Do I need to speak up and clear the air with the other person? How can I solve this problem without turning to mindless munching?

Forgive Yourself

Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day, and don’t stick to your program. Get back on track as soon as possible, and keep working towards your goal of having a healthier body.

Fewer Women are Dieting

Dieting is almost a national obsession in America, especially with women. We want to look slim and trim in our clothes, and strut down the beach in our bathing suit during the summer. Some may try Weight Watchers, others may count calories, and quick fix diets like the Cabbage Soup and HCG are popular with those who want to lose weight as soon as possible. Sadly, most diets do not work in the long run, and slow down the metabolism. Feeling deprived, many dieters throw in the towel, and go back to their old habits.

“Happily, fewer women are dieting and are accepting their bodies with a little extra weight,”according to the NPD Group.” In a survey conducted in 1992, 35% of women said they were dieting. In a survey of 3800 adults conducted in 2012, only 23 percent of women were dieting.

Instead of going on and off diets, more women are making good eating habits a part of their lifestyle. “The newer thinking is personal empowerment for change and making small changes over time that are more doable for the individual,” said Madelyn Fernstrom of the University of Pittsburg Medical Center.