Happy December everyone! During the holiday season we spend lots of time celebrating with family, friends, and food! It can be hard to stick to your nutrition goals when you’re standing over a serving table full of delicious meats, sides, and sweets. Fear not! You can still eat all of your favorite foods; but be smart! Let’s all try to remember the picture of MyPlate, above!

MyPlate is a guide from the US Department of Agriculture to help guide us with our food choices. We’ll go over each section and talk about what foods go where:

  • Protein: this section should take up ¼ of your plate. This is your meat! Whether your family has ham, brisket, beef, chicken, or turkey, any of those go in this spot. Try to avoid big pieces of fat on the meat and be careful to only use a little gravy.
  • Grains: this section also takes up ¼ of your plate. Foods in the grain section include stuffing, potatoes, rice, corn, and dinner rolls.
  • Vegetables: load up on veggies! With fruits, they should take up ½ of your plate. Common vegetables include carrots, green beans, broccoli, salad, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.
  • Fruits: Fruit at dinner? How? It is possible! Applesauce, cranberry sauce, and baked peaches/pears are all good options.
  • Dairy: A glass of milk with your dinner or desert works to get your dairy in, or you can pick a side that has cheese on it.

Okay, so we know what to eat. Now, what else should we keep in mind?

  • Don’t skip meals! This leads to overeating and you will not feel good after stuffing yourself.
  • Don’t overfill your plate! This can be easy to do with so many yummy things to eat, but if you put too much food on your plate you will either waste it because you’re too full to eat it all, or you will eat it all and you’ll get sick from eating too much.
  • Rethink your drink. The best drink choices are water and milk! Avoid too much juice, soda, and alcohol so you can leave some room for dessert.
  • Speaking of dessert…Try to limit your choices to one piece of pie, cake, cookie, brownie, etc. If you really want to try a couple different desserts, take a smaller size piece of each one than you normally would if you were only having one.
  • Move your body. Go for a walk to help digest and get some fresh air. Your body will thank you!

Most important of all, the holiday season is not a time to be worrying about whether or not you should eat a cookie. Enjoy this time with your family and friends, or however you choose to celebrate.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!