The holiday season is in full swing, and you may be worried about how you will get through the rest of the year without gaining the dreaded “holiday pounds.” Besides eating your favorite foods mindfully, I suggest you adopt the three-fourths philosophy.

Four Basics to Creating a Satisfying Healthy Meal

Cover 75 percent of your plate with foods that are high in fiber. These include vegetable salads, roasted vegetables, beans, and cooked whole grains.

Use the remaining 25 percent for foods with little or no fiber, including animal-derived protein, sweets, sauces, refined grains, and desserts.

Be choosy about starchy foods. Those calories in a plain white packaged dinner roll can be saved for something special on the buffet. Sweet potato casserole and bread stuffing are high in calories and fat. Choose one favorite and skip the rest.

Treat the dessert buffet like a menu at a restaurant. Ask yourself if you are fully satisfied with your meal and if you can save the treat for when you are hungry. Consider choosing a tiny portion of one special treat and giving it your full attention while you eat it.

Additional TipsDon’t skip meals.

If you skip breakfast or lunch to eat a big holiday meal, you are more likely to consume excess calories than if you eat regular healthy meals on the day of celebration. I’ve provided a recipe for one of my favorite seasonal breakfasts: Pumpkin Breakfast Pudding.

Stop when you are 80 percent satisfied.

Before you take the first bite of a meal, set an intention to notice when you are no longer hungry, and stop eating when you are satisfied. Sure, you could eat more, but if you stop, you will still be happy with what you have eaten—even if food remains on your plate.

Go for a post-meal stroll.

Studies show that if you stroll for 15 to 30 minutes after a meal, you can dampen blood sugar highs, making it easier for your body to use up the calories consumed at the feast.

Find more resources.

Create a free membership in Full Plate Living for more resources and motivation. You can watch the video and download free documents, including a Healthy Holiday cookbook, at fullplateliving.org/.

Pumpkin Breakfast Pudding

Yield: 6 servings

This recipe has all the components of a healthy meal: protein, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fat. The yogurt and kefir provide a plethora of gut-friendly bacteria and yeast. The oats and chia seeds offer food (prebiotics) for gut bacteria, and the recipe contains 11 grams of nutrient-rich fiber.

Ingredients

3 cups organic unsweetened Greek yogurt (nutrition analysis for nonfat)

3 cups organic plain low-fat Kefir

1 can (14 oz) pumpkin

2 Tablespoons real maple or date syrup

¾ cup organic raw rolled oats

1/3 cup chia seeds

1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus additional for sprinkling

16 Medjool dates, chopped

Optional: Chopped roasted nuts of choice – 1 Tablespoon per serving

Directions

    In a large bowl, combine all ingredients exceptnuts.

    Portion into six containers.

    Refrigerate overnight for up to seven days.

    When ready to eat, top with toasted nuts, if desired.

Key Nutrition Features: Calories: 510 Protein: 22g Carb: 88g Fiber: 11g


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Nancy Teeter is a Registered Dietitian and a SaddleBrooke resident. Though she is mostly retired, she is passionate about sharing her nutrition knowledge. This article should not replace advice from your medical provider. For dietary support, go to eatright.org