The season of overindulgence is upon us. With all of those delectable dishes staring you down as you make your way around the holiday buffet, how are you going to make it through without unraveling your otherwise well-balanced diet? Not to worry; with a little bit of math and careful plate portions, you can enjoy your Thanksgiving meal and escape unnecessary weight gain.
Keep reading to see how it’s done!
The ideal plate should be divided up into three sections: vegetables, protein, and starches. Fill one-half of your plate with vegetables, one-fourth of your plate with protein, and the last fourth with starches.
Green veggies, like Brussels sprouts, green beans, and spinach, are number one. Salads and other healthy vegetables like cauliflower also can fill this portion, just beware of how they’re prepared. If the salad is dripping in dressing and covered in bacon and blue cheese crumbles, start with your steamed, baked, and grilled vegetable options first. Butter, oil, and thick sauces can turn an otherwise healthy veggie into a calorie bomb. So if the only spinach on your Thanksgiving table is creamed spinach, it’s better to skip it.
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without turkey. Dedicate one-quarter of your plate to a serving of white meat. That should be about three ounces or a helping the size of your fist. If you can, keep gravy to a minimum and avoid the skin.
The final fourth of your plate can be filled with starches. That means stuffing, mashed potatoes, and rolls are all fair game, but the most virtuous choices are yams and corn.
No one should be deprived of a bite of pie, but you should choose wisely. Pecan pie will do the most damage. Fruit-filled pies like cherry and apple come in next. If you can’t resist a slice of apple pie, try to eat around as much of the crust as possible to save yourself a few calories. Good old-fashioned pumpkin pie is the leanest choice. Whichever one you pick, skip the whipped cream and ice cream.
Although not technically on your plate, your beverage choices can easily derail your perfectly portioned meal. Drink plenty of water—at least two or three large glasses—before the big meal, and save your alcoholic sips until dinner is served. That way you can fill up on water before you start eating, and your self-control won’t be compromised by that glass of vino. Limit yourself to one glass, but if you must refill, wait to do so until you’ve finished another full glass of water.
What’s your favorite dish on the Thanksgiving table? Tell us below!