Feast to Flourish: Using Evidence-Based Eating Habits to Stay on Track this Holiday Season

From plate size to not skipping meals, people are always sharing tips about how to not gorge yourself on the holiday feasts, but do they really work? Let’s dig a little deeper and see what the studies say. Although plate size may not matter, especially in some populations, there are some tricks that will keep you on track!

Serve yourself!

According to this 2014 study you are more likely to load up on vegetables for yourself than when another person is plating the food for you. For this reason, using a bigger plate could actually translate to more vegetables!

Imagine your meal.

Give yourself a jump start for success by deciding ahead of time how much you’re planning to eat. This may sound pedestrian but it’s actually important! Brunstrom’s Mind over Platter article reports that this not only helps control the portion size but also affects your perceived memory of what you ate. Accurately remembering what you ate actually affects your satiety. Also, be aware that with increased variety in foods (as we see in the holidays), portion sizes tend to be larger because it “increases sensory contrast” within the meal, altering our perception of the portions. So take those few seconds to think about the food in front of you.

Consider skipping breakfast.

Gasp! Did I really imply that you should NOT eat the “most important meal of the day”? Yes. Look out for an upcoming post on this for details and other benefits of fasting, but for now just know that studies have shown that people do not overcompensate later in the day despite being hungrier. On average people eat 400 kcal less. This isn’t for everyone, especially if you have a condition like diabetes where you don’t want your blood sugar to crash.

Do your part!

You can’t eat something that’s not there! Make sure there’s healthy food at the table by bringing it yourself. One of my favorite recipe sites is nourishingmeals.com, home of the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen cookbooks. I brought their crowd pleasing Wild Rice, Kale, & Cranberry Pilaf to Thanksgiving last year.

Or how about some Serious Kale! This recipe is a copycat of a dish found at Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie restaurant in Seattle and it is one of my favorites!

Hope these help and happy feasting!

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