We all come together for festivals, fun and food as the growing season comes to an end. This is the opening of the season of celebrating holidays bringing family and friends together. Our challenge is know how enjoy and deal with an abundance of food throughout out celebrations.
Abundance of food is a blessing for most Americans. Yet at the same time, given the high rate of overweight and obesity in our society, we all need to be recognize how much we eat compared to how much we need to eat. So, how do YOU figure out how much YOU actually eat? How much food do YOU need to eat? A few simple tips can help you out.
First – since everyone is different – finding the amount of food YOU need is right at your fingertips at MyPyramid.gov. The website will tell you the specific amounts (in cups and ounces) of fruits, vegetables, meat and beans, breads and cereals, and milk (or foods made from milk) you need. For example, many adults need 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables each day.
Second – Learn to estimate amounts of foods. Use common objects as visual cues. A baseball has the same volume as 1-cup and a computer mouse is equal to about ½-cup. A deck of cards is equal to 3 ounces of meat, or ½-cup of another food. Also, practice using measuring cups a couple of times to get a sense of the volume of 1-cup or ½-cup. Paying attention to the amounts of food will help you get what ‘just’ you need, instead of ‘more’ than you need.
Third – Put lower calorie foods, like fruits and vegetables, on your plate first. Eating lower calorie foods first will fill you up before you get to the dessert table. Be mindful and slowly savor every bite. You’ll probably find a little less will do just fine.
Fourth- Watch out for the hidden calories in beverages. Alternate a glass of water, or other calorie-free drink, with other beverages.
Celebrating the season abundance is a gift to ourselves. Let yourself taste and enjoy all the delectable foods of the harvest season -- without overdoing it!