Day 4: Sizing Up Your Holiday Meal #holidayplate

Healthy Holiday Series

When you sit down to your holiday feast this season, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself to make sure that your plate is helping you meet your nutrition goals.

Day 4: Sizing Up Your Holiday Meal

Are the portions right?
It’s so easy to indulge during the holiday season, so this is super important.  A good rule of thumb is to use the palm of your hand as a good indicator of portion size.  If you want to get more specific, here are some examples of typical holiday foods and their appropriate portion sizes:

Mashed potatoes: ½ cup, or the size of a computer mouse
Turkey, other meats: 3 oz, or the size of a deck of cards
Leafy greens: 1 cup, or the size of a baseball
Cake: 1 slice, or the size of a deck of cards

Is it colorful?
If your plate is full of many colors, chances are it’s got a variety of nutrients.  This holiday season, try to have dark green, orange, and red on your plate (a leafy green salad with tomatoes and peppers is an excellent way to get all three!) If you must have white foods (which are usually starchy or creamy), try to keep them to a minimum.

Are all the food groups present?
MyPlate, the healthy eating graphic put out by the U.S. Government, is a great indicator of how to set up your plate for optimal health.  The recommendations are to make half your plate fruits and vegetables, and split the other half between grains and protein.  If you have, for example, a serving of lean meat (see above for portion size), a salad, fresh fruit, and wild rice-you’re good to go!  If you’d like a handy visual, you can find the MyPlate graphic here:

This holiday season, size up your plate before you sit down to eat and you might just find that it’s relatively easy to stay on track.

Day 4 Homework –> What do you think the hardest part of this challenge will be?  How will you deal with the temptation to overindulge? Share your thoughts with us in the comments or join the conversation on our Facebook page!

Want to learn how to successfully eat healthy this holiday? Read all the Healthy Holiday Challenge posts here

An Intern Behind the Plate,


  1. says

    I think the hardest part is being so over-whelmed by all the food. You want everything and often your eyes are so much bigger than your stomach! Im going to be mindful when Im eating this Xmas and actually think about what Im putting into my body. I want to reaally appreciate that stuffing and those potatoes without just trying to eat as much in as I can.

    • Intern Rachel says

      Very true! Holiday meals always look so delicious too! I usually try to take a small plate on my first go so that way I can have seconds if I’m still hungry. Can’t wait to hear about your healthy holiday!