Enjoy holiday meals while staying away from `portion distortion’

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> COLUMBUS, Miss. — Holidays are a time to gather with close friends and family around the dinner table and fellowship with one another. In order to enjoy your favorite dishes while staying healthy, there are several easy and quick tips.
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> According to Amanda Dahl, instructor of nutrition at The W, Americans suffer from portion distortion and portions generally become larger than a serving.
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> There is a difference between serving size and portion size, she explained. “Serving size is standardized according to weight and can be found on a nutrition label while a portion size is the amount of food that is put on a plate.”
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> Also, there are some visual cues to help you determine the correct portion size. A serving of turkey is about 3 ounces which is the size of a deck of cards. One cup of cooked vegetables or medium fruit is about the size of a baseball, and a half-cup of cooked pasta or rice is the size of a light bulb.
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> “Try to fill the plate with healthier items and limit the portion of those foods that are high in fat and sugar,” Dahl said. “If you want a piece of pecan pie for dessert, limit yourself to one small slice instead of avoiding it all together and then binging on it later.”
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> In order to counteract the amount of calories that may be consumed, be physically active and make healthy food choices days before you eat a large meal.
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> “Drink a glass of water and eat an apple about 30 minutes before a meal. This will help you to feel full going into your meal and try to avoid seconds, but if you do, wait 15-20 minutes to make sure that you really are hungry again,” she added.
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> Also, limit the amount of empty calories as possible such as sweet tea, soda and alcoholic beverages because they do not contain any nutritional value.
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> “Don’t be afraid to use substitutes for butter, sugar, lard, cream sauces and gravies to lighten up your favorite traditional dishes or incorporate healthier additions to your Thanksgiving table,” Dahl said.
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> Making healthy food choices during the holiday season should no longer be a problem with these simple tips.
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