Ask the Dietitian: How Do I Avoid Overeating During the Holidays?

Jessica Jones-Hughes
December 4, 2011
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With the holidays quickly approaching, I always get questions about how to prepare for the season to avoid weight gain or overdoing it when all the tempting, delectable treats appear on the scene. I am a huge sucker for my grandma's fresh baked rolls and brownies cooked using Equal Exchange dark chocolate. Luckily, I have found that these tasty delights can fit into a healthy, balanced diet, without guilt. How? Everything in moderation! What is moderation? Let's find out.

Moderation means that you can include foods that you love in your diet, when you are aware of how much you are eating. This is especially important during the holiday season when so many delicious family- and friend-cooked dishes are available. Don't get me wrong; I applaud the cooking that occurs during the holiday season, as cooking is an art that has been quickly fading over the past few decades. Thank the cook by enjoying the dish, but enjoy it in realistic portions.

Serving sizes can be hard to figure out on the fly. One way to familiarize your eye with correct serving sizes is to measure out portions using measuring cups into dishes you commonly use. There are also other great tips to help you crack the serving size code. Below are some examples of appropriate serving sizes compared to common household items to help you determine and remember the correct portion.

One serving equals:

  • 1 fruit serving of an Equal Exchange Banana = the length of a pencil
  • One ounce of Equal Exchange chocolate = about 8 squares, or the size of floss package
  • 1/4 cup Equal Exchange Organic Tamari Roasted Almonds = the size of a golf ball

To find out other correct serving sizes and comparisons to common household items (ex: 1.5 oz cheese = 3 dice) to keep you on track this holiday season, check out http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-portion-size-plate. Another great tool: http://www.mypyramid.gov/HOLIDAY/holiday-portionsizes.html.

Use these tools and enjoy a holiday season filled with foods you love, in a way that keeps you feeling great and healthy.