Picture this: a plate of perfectly roasted turkey, savory stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, crisp green beans, all topped with delicious gravy...Yum!
The holidays can be a delicious and sometimes challenging time of the year, as so many of our celebrations revolve around food. Many of the dishes served are special and only prepared once or twice a year – a treat we don’t want to miss out on! Try using the MyPlate method, to help fit in your favorites while still being mindful about your overall food selections.
What is MyPlate? MyPlate was designed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help Americans meet the dietary guidelines with enough nutrients in our overall intake to support health. We can use MyPlate to construct our meal in a way that is nutritionally balanced. MyPlate suggests the following basic principles:
So how do we put this into action?
1. Start off with vegetables and fruit
2. Add your grains/starches
3. Add your protein
4. Complete your meal with some dairy
Dairy is separate from the other food groups because of its calcium content. If you don’t have a cup of milk or fortified milk alternative with your meal, you can incorporate it into a dish already on your plate. These are foods that check off the dairy category:
Let’s take a look at this MyPlate example:
There’s almost always leftovers for holiday dishes. Acknowledge that there will be leftovers prior to loading your plate and understand that you can eat them tomorrow. If you are worried that you might miss out on a favorite and can’t squeeze it on your plate, make a second plate, wrap it up, and put it in the refrigerator for later.
Holiday foods don’t have to be exclusive to just the holidays. If a dish runs out before you get a chance to have it, you can always make it for a fun dinner in the coming days or weeks.
Sit down and enjoy the meal – one day, or meal, doesn't determine your overall nutrition or health! This year has been stressful and it is important to give yourself a break and enjoy comforting food without judgement.
Have a safe, tasty, and Happy Holiday Season!
~ Jordan Griffin, Dietetic Intern
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!