As we get into the holiday season, we’ve all got a little more on our plates, both literally and figuratively. The nation continues to cope with COVID-19, but vaccines have made it possible for families to get together for festive meals and decadent desserts. Eating delicious foods releases serotonin, one of our core happy chemicals, and around the holidays, we are especially prone to overeating. That’s why knowing your way around portion control and regulating your meals according to your unique needs.

What is the right “portion” for me?

The answer varies from person to person. Portion size depends on your age, weights, diet, and activity level, and portion size can’t account for a lack of certain vitamins and minerals in your diet. For that, it’s important to supplement with a product manufactured using high-quality ingredients. While there is no such thing as a perfect portion, there are a few rules of thumb to help you stay mindful of your portion size.

  • Use your plate as a measuring tool. One quarter of your plate should be protein, another quarter should be complex carbs, and the other half should be vegetables or salad.
  • Alternatively, use smaller plates for meals. This is especially helpful when you have one core dish, such as a stir fry or pasta dish.
  • Try portioning out food based on serving sizes and try sticking to one per each food item per meal. It’s okay to eat some potato chips for dinner, but try eating only the serving size listed on the bag.

Healthy habits help at mealtime.

Start your day with hydration and movement. Keep a glass of water by your bed to get your muscles lubricated, then try some stretching to get your metabolism going. This can ensure your stomach is ready to digest your breakfast more efficiently, requiring you to eat less food at mealtime. There are several things you can do throughout your day to ensure you are portioning properly. Use a food diary to keep track of what you eat and how much. Keep snacks portioned out rather than in a single container. Think of ways that you can build habits that foster healthy portion sizes.

Be aware of your willpower!

Sometimes, you have to be the one to turn away that second or third slice of pizza. Only you know what’s right for you, but it helps to be aware of that little voice and gut feeling that come with guilty eating. While you shouldn’t let it control your life, it can be a helpful indicator to make you stop and say, “Am I actually hungry?”