Portion Control Your Thanksgiving Feast

myplate (2)

Thanksgiving comes around once a year and is a day we dedicate to tradition, family, and eating!  It can be hard to keep your nutrition goals in focus when surrounded by a feast of calorie-rich options. Thankfully, you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite holiday foods in order to stay healthy and avoid weight gain.  Use the portion size references below and the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines to enjoy your favorite foods without overindulging, because the only thing that should be stuffed on Thanksgiving is the turkey.

Follow the USDA’s MyPlate Strategy!

How to Measure Serving Sizes of Your Thanksgiving Favorites:

  • Turkey – White meat = 3 oz. cooked or one deck of cards
  • Mashed Potatoes = ½ cup or a Scotch Tape roll
  • Cranberry Sauce – canned =  ½ inch slice; homemade = ½ cup or spool of thread
  • Sweet Potato or Green Bean casserole – ½ cup or an Altoids box
  • Stuffing – ½ cup or a bar of soap
  • Dinner roll – a medium roll or a tennis ball
  • Gravy – 2 tbsp. or a golf ball
  • Cornbread – a combination lock
  • Pumpkin pie – 1/10 of a 9 inch pie plate or a light bulb

 

For more information on portion control ideas, go to www.choosemyplate.gov.

Meghan Rath

Meghan Rath

M.S., CSCS, HFS is a HealthEase Fitness Manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. She is also ACSM and NSCA certified.

More Posts

Meal Prep Time Savers

Busy schedules, low energy levels, and not knowing what to do for dinner all lead to ordering off the takeout menu or eating less than healthy options during the workweek. Check out the tips below to help make healthy cooking a breeze.

Prep Work Shortcuts:

  • Buy precut, prepackaged veggies or buy the toppings from the grocery salad bar and throw into stir fries, omelets, quesadillas,  or use for kabobs
  • Use frozen veggies – try them roasted or sautéed straight from the freeze or steam them according to package directions
  • Use beans or tofu as a no-cook protein source for your meal
  • Buy pre-portioned chicken breasts, pre-formed ground beef or turkey patties, precooked shrimp, etc. to cut down your meat prep

Embrace Kitchen Tools and Gadgets:

  • Use your Crockpot to do the cooking while you’re at work:
    • Cook chicken or turkey breasts and shred them to add to salads, quesadillas, pizzas, burritos and wraps, or sandwiches and burgers
    • Cook ground beef, chicken, or turkey to use in tacos, sloppy Joes, burritos bowls, or add to lasagna
  • Use a food processor or mandolin to chop and slice your veggies, herbs, and fruits in no time
  • Use tools such as cherry pitters, apple slicers, egg slicers (also great for mushrooms), garlic presses, and other time savers to cut down on tedious chopping and dicing

Use convenience foods when you can:

  • Buy a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking your own to add to your favorite recipe.  Just be sure to remove the skin
  • Layer frozen raviolis (with spinach!) with pasta sauce, lean ground beef or turkey, and low fat mozzarella to make a super quick lasagna
  • Buy precooked whole wheat pizza crust to make homemade pizzas
  • Use frozen, microwavable rice as a side or to add to casseroles, stir fries, burritos, or soups Try these combinations to get your creative juices flowing!
  • Add shredded chicken and black beans to rice and prepared salsa for a Southwestern quick meal (omit chicken for a vegetarian meal).  Bump up the fiber with frozen corn and bell peppers!
  • Toss precooked shrimp with lime juice, cilantro, and prepared mango salsa.  Wrap in a whole wheat tortilla and top with pre-sliced red cabbage for easy shrimp tacos.
  • Cook ground turkey meatballs in your Crockpot and serve on a whole wheat roll with chopped spinach, feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and Greek yogurt for a Mediterranean take on a meatball sub.
Meghan Rath

Meghan Rath

M.S., CSCS, HFS is a HealthEase Fitness Manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. She is also ACSM and NSCA certified.

More Posts

Don’t let fitness take a backseat! Have a backup plan to stay on track.

Sometimes our best intentions to exercise are no match for the curve balls life throws our way. Schedules get busy or energy levels drop, but we can still adjust our workouts to ensure we meet our exercise goals and fit in our fitness.

Be ready to adjust your original plans to overcome new obstacles!

In a time crunch?

  • Shorten your overall workout time and increase your intensity.
  • Increase your running or walking speed and decrease your overall time
  • Move quickly through a 15-20 minute weight lifting routine with little rest between exercises
  • Jump rope for 5-10 minutes

Not energized to get to the gym?

Try these activities when your energy is low:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates and core exercises
  • Walking with weights
  • Elliptical or exercise bike at a moderate intensity (heart rate and breathing rate are up, but you can still talk in full sentences)
  • Do whatever workout you feel you can handle, whether it’s stretching exercises or doing a 20-minute weight training routine. Some exercise is always better than none.

Bad weather ruining your outdoor workout plans?

  • Run or walk on the treadmill or other cardio machine.
  • Try an at-home workout DVD or bodyweight exercise routine instead.
  • Look into foul-weather gear; there are many types of clothing and footwear for rain and snow, even ice.

Enjoy a sense of accomplishment for overcoming obstacles and sticking to your goals as best you can!

 

 

Meghan Rath

Meghan Rath

M.S., CSCS, HFS is a HealthEase Fitness Manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. She is also ACSM and NSCA certified.

More Posts

Focus on your food: Prevent weight gain caused by mindless eating

We have all been caught up reading emails or watching TV while eating, only to look at our plate and notice we’ve finished our meal in what felt like no time at all. Mindlessly eating throughout the day can lead to overeating. Check out these tips to start focusing on your food and prevent unwanted calorie build-up.

 

What is Mindful Eating and How to Practice It

 

Mindful eating is when we put our full attention to the experience of eating and/or drinking – such as, the appearance, taste, texture, and aromas. When we don’t focus on the act of eating, our brain does not always “connect” with our body and recognize that we are full; or that we even ate at all!

 

To truly enjoy your food, and still lose or maintain a healthy weight, try these small changes:

 

Before opening your pantry or taking a bite, ask yourself: “Am I really hungry?”

 

If you are physically hungry you should fuel yourself properly with healthy calories. If not, you may only be craving certain foods or your “hunger” is driven by emotion.

 

When you are hungry, ask yourself “what do I want to eat now?

 

Think about what you prefer to eat now. When you follow these preferences you will be less likely to needlessly snack on unsatisfying choices.

 

You CAN eat mindfully.

 

Use the CAN method  eat foods that are Convenient, Attractive, and Normal. For example, put a colorful bowl of fruit on the counter instead of in the fridge to keep it convenient, and attractive, and be sure to fill the bowl with fruits you enjoy or commonly eat (normal).

 

5 Ways to Increase Mindfulness during Your Meals:

  • Look at each bite of food before you put it into your mouth.
  • Chew your food s-l-o-w-l-y (or for at least 10 seconds).
  • When multitasking, try to alternate eating with whatever activity you are doing – in other words, don’t read and eat simultaneously.
  • Try to fully focus on the first four sips of your morning coffee, tea, or fruit juice, and take in its appearance, smell and taste.
  • When eating, stop and focus on how full you feel. Try to eat until you feel satisfied, not stuffed.
Meghan Rath

Meghan Rath

M.S., CSCS, HFS is a HealthEase Fitness Manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. She is also ACSM and NSCA certified.

More Posts

HINTS FOR HOT WEATHER WORKOUTS

Summertime tends to get steamy in July and August, yet exercise enthusiasts love their outdoor workouts. So how do you brace for a good sweat without suffering any consequences of exercising under a hot sun in high humidity?

 

Follow these helpful hints:

 

1. Don’t ditch the indoor machines! Continue to use treadmills and other indoor exercise equipment while gradually extending your outdoor activity. Our bodies take up to two weeks to acclimate to warmer temperatures and higher humidity. Consider long outdoor walks at lunchtime or after work before cranking up the intensity.

 

2. When exercising outdoors, seek out shaded areas and schedule workouts during the cooler parts of the day or evening. Drink plenty of water after your workout to rehydrate – you will lose a lot of fluids when you sweat profusely.

 

3. If you take medications, check with your physician or pharmacist to see if the meds increase your risk of heat-related illnesses, such as dehydration. Also be sure to wear sunscreen outdoors. Antibiotics and other meds make your skin even more vulnerable to sunburns. To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses.

 

4.  Consider your post-workout condition. After exercising in the heat, see how you feel to determine what you can do for subsequent workouts. If you are overly fatigued, light-headed or dehydrated, be cautious about your exercise duration and intensity.

 

Regardless of the weather, always be aware of your surroundings when exercising outdoors. Stay clear of street traffic and other hazards along your route. Enjoy safe workouts for the greatest success!    

Meghan Rath

Meghan Rath

M.S., CSCS, HFS is a HealthEase Fitness Manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. She is also ACSM and NSCA certified.

More Posts