The Fourth of July is a time for cookouts, picnics, and celebrating the anniversary of our country’s independence. While you may just decide to make the holiday a cheat day, it can be easy to eat more than expected and add hundreds of calories to your plate. Watching what you eat on this 4th of July doesn’t have to be stressful or make you feel deprived – here are some tips to help you stay in control and enjoy the celebrations.Practice Portion Sizes
The first step to knowing how to control your portions is to understand what the appropriate portion sizes for different foods are, this of course will be slightly different for every person.
Starting with protein, a good portion of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand. Obviously, everyone has a different size palm, so it will approximately match up to what you need for a meal.
Grains and fruit, although they are healthy foods, can contribute a lot of calories to a meal therefore you should limit your portions of these foods. One cup, or a baseball, is a portion for cooked grains like pasta, rice, or quinoa. A serving of fresh fruit is half of a cup, or a fruit approximately the size of a tennis ball.
Vegetables will always be unlimited, they are the healthiest and lowest calorie foods to add to your diet. So, if you are going to fill your plate, fill it up with lots of veggies!
Another easy way to control your portions during the holiday is to pace your eating. It may be tempting to fill your plate at your first visit to the buffet table, but you may end up with more than what your stomach can handle.
The signal for satiety (or fullness) takes time for your body to process. On your plate, choose a few of your favorite foods to eat. After eating, wait a few minutes before getting up for a second portion to see if you’re still hungry. If you are, get another plate.
Eat More Fruits and Veggies
When you want to get a second helping, try prioritizing vegetable and fruits. These foods tend to be lower in calories, and the fiber content helps you feel full. If you’re unsure that there will be enough vegetable and fruit dishes, prepare a dish of your own to bring to the table.
Consider a Smaller Plate
Lastly, research shows that it’s not only how much and what you put on your plate, but the size of the plate can really impact how much you eat. When you eat from a larger plate, it makes serving sizes of food appear smaller than they actually are and causes people to eat more than intended. If possible, eat from smaller dishes so that your perception of your portion sizes is more accurate.
When you have physical goals, it may be difficult to give yourself a day off to enjoy the holidays, but proper planning can make it easy. Choosing a small plates, prioritizing vegetables and fruits, and pacing your meals can help with managing your portions and not exceeding your intake goals.
Stay active and have fun on this Fourth of July!