Portion Control for the Holiday Season

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Written By: Ja’nia Morrow
Guilford County Agricultural Center Intern

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow, that meal was amazing, but now I’m tired” or “I’m gonna have to work out after the holidays.”  Well, you shouldn’t have to think like that. An easy way to avoid these kinds of problems is to focus on portion control. This helps to monitor what you are putting on your plate and how much you are putting on your plate. This is especially important during the holidays, but this can be a challenging task to tackle. It’s easy to get only the foods you like to eat, with no regard to the portions and how much you should be eating according to your age, weight, and other various factors.

Hand and hand with portion control is serving size. The serving size of something is the specific amount of food recommended to eat in one sitting, and it usually has a standard measurement to define how much that particular amount should be. 

How can we monitor portion sizes during the holidays? One way is to use a smaller plate when eating. By using a smaller plate, you can decrease the amount of food that you are consuming. This action makes you feel full, as your mind will only see that you have eaten a whole plate of food, making you feel satisfied. Eating from a smaller plate might not be the best way to monitor your portion control, but it can still decrease your intake and the amount of food you consume.

Another way you can monitor your portions during the holidays is to use a portion control map. This may not be the best option though because you might not always have a measuring cup near you. This method also works with hands. From the link ChooseMyPlate, you can view a chart with several hand positions that help and represent how much of each food category you should be eating. The portions are different for women, men, and children. Using these hand motions can be a quick and easy way to see how much you are getting and how much you should be putting on your plate. 

Lastly, a way to control your portion size and how much you’re eating is to start your meal off with a glass of water. Thirst can oftentimes be interpreted by people as hunger, causing them to overeat when they’re thirsty. So, by drinking a glass of water before you eat, you are bound only to eat the amount you actually should, and this might also help to differentiate the two; hunger and thirst.