The holiday season is among us, and so are the festive dinners, parties and free samples at the grocery store. Too much holiday food can leave you feeling very un-jolly when you put on your jeans come January, but don’t fret — you can still have your favorite foods, but in smaller doses.
Portion control allows you to eat the foods you love, without hating yourself in the morning. Below are items likely to be found in your home that will show you how much to stack on your plate.
Bread: Fake ID
Imagine the confusion on your grandma’s face when she looks at your ID and sees that you are a resident of New Mexico. The dimensions of a fake ID (or a real one, for that matter) provide the ideal portion size for that sourdough roll. This will keep you in the range of 170-200 calories. Tragically, butter is not factored into these numbers.
Meat: Tennis Ball
Meat probably ranks second on the list of holiday favorites for many carnivorous Americans (although dessert holds the number one spot, in my opinion). If you want to avoid going whole hog (or ham), stick to the tennis ball rule. Allow yourself to have 2-3 slices of meat that are not larger than the circumference of a tennis ball.
Another clever trick is to look at the type of meat you are stacking on your plate. Traditionally, there’s dark and light meat to choose from. White meat comes from the parts of the animal that see the most movement/exercise. This meat is leaner and lower in fat. The dark meat is richer in fat, and therefore considered more flavorful (and worse for you).
Potatoes: Parent’s Cassette Tape
I acknowledge that this one might be tough to follow. I know from experience that once you start piling creamy mashers on your plate, it is tough to stop. Potatoes are a staple at any holiday dinner, so it is important to know how to limit those delicious starchy pillows.
Try to a visualize a retro cassette tape on your plate. Not familiar with what a cassette tape is? That’s all right, they have little to no relevance in our cyber society today.
All you need to know is that length (3 inches) and width (2.5 inches) of a standard cassette can lead you to the ideal portion size of those creamy and dangerously delicious mashers.
Vegetables: Pack of Ramen
The least glamorous and most under-appreciated food on dinner tables this holiday season are the vegetables. Show some compassion and heap those veggies on your plate, ’cause chances are you have been counting the freeze dried corn and carrots (in the flavor packet of ramen) as a full serving of veggies.
It should really come as no surprise that the food that gets the largest serving is vegetables. By themselves, they are relatively low in calories and fat. Where you get in trouble is when veggies are smothered in butter and cream sauce.
Use your expertise in ramen to help with your portion size. The ramen package is ideal for vegetables and will only make around a 100 calorie dent in your day.
“Life’s too short.” This phrase is almost as basic as getting an infinity tattoo. But seriously, desserts are too good to limit in my eyes. Tarts, cheesecakes, pies, custards, cookies, brownies, ice cream, cakes are pure joy.
There are so many, how can you even choose? Having 1-2 slices of Aunt Bertha’s infamous triple chocolate trifle is going to fill your heart with bliss and you shouldn’t think twice about going back for a third piece if it is going to make you happy.
Remember, it’s the holidays, so do your best to watch those portions — but don’t kill yourself over the “ideal” scoop of sweet potatoes. You can have your cake and eat it too… Maybe just a slice or two, though.