How to Build a Healthier Holiday Plate [Infographic]

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Food is undeniably at the heart of holiday celebrations. Whether it’s deep fried turkey, green bean casserole or grandma’s classic pumpkin pie–there is no reason why you can’t, and shouldn’t, enjoy your favorite holiday treats. Whether your strategy is to have a weight neutral holiday or to budget every bite we want to prepare you for success.

It is possible to take pleasure in a meal that leaves you plenty full and completely satisfied without feeling overly stuffed or regretful–it just means being more mindful of what and how much goes onto the plate. Below are some helpful tips on building a healthier holiday plate as well as photos to help you see that plate in your mind’s eye.

1. GRAVITATE TOWARDS THE GREEN SIDES

You’ll want to fill up half your plate with vegetables, which are lower in calories and higher in fiber. Raw salads or vegetables that are roasted, baked, sautéed, stir-fried or steamed will be your best bet.

2. LIMIT STARCHY SIDES TO A QUARTER OF YOUR PLATE

This is about the size of your balled fist. Starches can be dinner rolls, pasta, rice and of course, mashed potatoes.

3. LEAVE ONE QUARTER OF YOUR PLATE FOR LEAN PROTEIN

Slice yourself a 3-ounce serving (about the size of your palm) of lean turkey/chicken breast, low sodium ham, beef tenderloin, fish and so forth.

4. EASE UP ON SAUCES AND SPREADS

Cranberry sauce, gravy and butter are high in added fat and sugar. Aim for 2-3 tablespoons with each tablespoon being about the size of your thumb.

5. GET A SMALL SLICE OF DESSERT AND SKIP SECONDS

Mindfully savor each bite of pumpkin pie or mini tartlet by chewing slowly and really tasting your food.

6. FULL UP ON LOW- OR NO-CALORIE DRINK

Sip on water or unsweetened tea if you can. If you make merry with alcohol try and keep it to 1 to 2 drinks per party, and hydrate with water between drinks.

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