Here's What a Portion-Controlled Holiday Meal Actually Looks Like


Nick Ferrari for Men's Fitness

The holiday season is both fortunately and unfortunately synonymous with marathon-style eating. On one hand, we're so excited to dive into some mashed potatoes, gravy, casserole, cinnamon buns, eggnog, and so much more; on the other hand, we know we're going to immediately regret it the moment our waistlines expand. We know there's that whole thing called "moderation" that we'd rather treat like that second cousin at the holiday table we don't know that well, but this year, we're getting serious. 

To help us stick to a portion-controlled meal this season (and going forward), we sought help from Maria Bella, founder of Top Balance Nutrition in NYC. But before we lay out for you how much of each type of food you should eat, Bella set some important ground rules to follow at your meal. First things first, she suggests eating a protein-packed snack (like a boiled egg with hummus) before heading into your party. This way, you'll be less hungry and less likely to put yourself into a food coma. Next, she suggests beginning your plate with a protein and ending with the carbs. For example, start with the turkey and end with mashed potatoes—you'll be more likely to eat less of the latter. Be sure to also drink plenty of water throughout the meal to stay hydrated. Finally, when it's dessert time, Bella suggests taking three bites of a treat (you always remember the first and last bite). We know, we know, impossible when there's cheesecake and brownies around, but after a filling meal, it'll at least fulfill your sweet tooth.

Now, on to the portions!

How do you avoid overindulging during the holidays? Tell us your tricks below!