By: Althea Burke
The holidays are upon us and for so many who are “trying to eat healthy” that unfortunately means anxiety about sticking to our diets, maintaining our weight and/or keeping off lost weight. It DOES NOT have to be this way!
I want to share a game plan to empower you to eat mindfully so that you can enjoy the bonding experience of home cooked meals with family and friends. The game plan covers portion and serving size - what and how much food you are putting on your plate at each meal. It probably comes as no surprise that during the holidays we consume food based on cravings – that is, we eat with our eyes despite our stomach telling us that physiologically we are satisfied. Think about that.
The Plate Method is one of the simplest meal planning tools available. It’s a way to organize your plate so that you stay within caloric needs and achieve a balanced meal that includes food items from each food group.
Building a healthy meal following The Plate Method is as easy as:
1) filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables
2) ¼ of your plate with lean protein and
3) the remaining ¼ with whole grains and starches.
Now that we have covered the portion (what) let us concentrate on serving (how much). Remember that a single portion can contain multiple servings.
Serving size is the second most important element of healthful eating. Second only to what food items you are consuming. Serving size refers to how many calories.
Since its unbecoming at family gatherings or social events to pull out measuring cups/spoons I’ve included images to easily help you determine serving size using available tools – hands!
Be. Very. Excited.
The surface of a fist or a cupped hand is equal to 1 cup:
- 1 serving = ½ cup of pasta, rice, noodles, quinoa, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce
- 1 serving = 1 cup of soup, 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
The tip of the index finger is equal to 1 teaspoon
- 1 serving = 1 teaspoon of butter to cover approx. 2 slices of bread
Light blue: From the tip of the thumb to the knuckle is 1 tablespoon
- 1 serving = 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, salad dressing, peanut butter
- 1 serving = 6 tablespoons of peas, beans, lentils
Dark blue: The entire thumb is equal to 1 ounce
- 1 serving = 1.5oz of unsalted nuts or seeds, approx. 1oz of cheddar cheese or semi-soft cheese, approx. 3oz of cottage cheese
- 1 serving = 1 piece of 8 slices for a 9-inch pumpkin or apple pie (about 400 calories). BUT approx. 100 calories equals 1oz.
- Around the perimeter of a clenched fist is equal to a double serving of ice cream. One serving is equal to half that amount.
- The palm of the hand is equal to roughly 3oz.
- 1 serving = 3oz cooked meat, 4oz cooked fish, 4oz soya or tofu, 4oz of hummus
What is attractive to me about healthful eating is that it is a personal affair. It is a matter of developing or maintaining a one to one relationship with the way that we nourish ourselves with food. As you sit down to eat this holiday season be emboldened by the knowledge that you have a choice in what you eat and how much you eat. YOU ARE POWERFUL!
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.