Each week, we’ll highlight some of our favorite healthy habits and the benefits behind them. We’ll also share a quick and simple tip from Heather Lake, a Jenny Craig Health & Lifestyle Contributor, to help support your weight loss goals and inspire you throughout the day! This 12-week series will focus on everything from portion control tips to delicious ways to incorporate more protein into your meals.
I’m Heather Lake, a health and lifestyle contributor for Jenny Craig. Here’s your healthy tip for the week: Watch your portion sizes! As portion sizes have nearly doubled and even tripled over the past 20 years, keeping an eye on how much food you’re consuming is becoming more important. Here are a few tips to keep your portion sizes in check: Read your labels (remember, there’s often more than one serving in a package), eat mindfully, listen to your hunger cues, and try pre-packing all of your snacks.
Portion control, made easy
Thanksgiving is right around the corner — but when the table is piled high with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and desserts, continuing to practice the healthy habits you’ve learned can seem challenging. If you’re feeling a little nervous about navigating your meals during the holiday season, that’s OK — we’re here to help!
To help you stick to your weight loss goals, we’ve put together our best portion control tips so you can continue making healthy food choices, no matter the occasion.
5 portion control tips to take the stress out of mealtime
1. Reach for healthy snacks.
Their bite-sized appearance can be deceiving: Many of the appetizers you’ll find at holiday meals and dinner parties can have an excess of sodium, added sugar and fat, which may affect your weight loss goals.
Did you know: A single pig in a blanket delivers a whopping 18.3 grams of fat and 701 milligrams of sodium!1
Try this: Instead, keep your hunger in check by enjoying a fresh snack of fruit and vegetables, which you can usually find right alongside the less healthy options. Great choices include a handful of berries, baby carrots and celery sticks. These snacks are filled with fiber, which will help you to feel satisfied without making you uncomfortably full before your main meal. If you’re not sure you’ll find snacks that will support your weight loss goals, bring along a small bag or container with your favorite healthy foods to enjoy.
For a quick and easy snack you can take along to your next event, grab a bag of Jenny Craig’s sweet and salty Kettle Corn or BBQ Crisps to curb between-meal hunger pangs.
2. Keep an eye on portion sizes.
Curious about the difference between a portion and a serving?
Portion size: the amount you serve yourself
Serving size: the standardized, measured amount of a food or beverage (it’s typically listed on a product’s Nutrition Facts label)
But don’t be fooled — many foods that are packaged in a single portion can actually contain multiple servings, making it easier to potentially overeat.
Try this: When in doubt, check out the nutritional label to ensure you’re eating portion-conscious amounts of food that work with your weight loss goals.
3. Build a delicious, portion-friendly plate.
Let your favorite non-starchy vegetable be the star of your plate, then add other smaller portions around it, including protein and starch.
Hack your holiday plate with this helpful infographic, or try this portion size chart to get the perfect amounts every time.
Try this: For an even easier way to savor the holiday flavors you love, have our Roasted Turkey with Gravy & Cauliflower Mash or Butternut Squash Ravioli for your main dish and enjoy with a generous portion of non-starchy vegetables, like salad, roasted broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
4. Try to eat mindfully.
Mindful eating is a powerful tool to help you to recognize how your body responds to food. When you eat mindfully, you’ll pay attention to your eating behaviors and are encouraged to be more aware of feelings of physical hunger and fullness.2
Try this: Focus on your senses: Consider how your food looks, its aroma, its taste, its texture, and more. Chew slowly and savor every bite.
Try these mindful eating tips to get started!
5. Love sweets? Go for smart choices.
For many of us, the best part of a meal is the sweet treat at the end. But even if you have a sweet tooth (thanks, DNA!), there are plenty of desserts you can enjoy that won’t derail your weight loss goals. These six low sugar desserts are quick to make and can feed a crowd — great news if you’re the one hosting a party! Plus, they’re easy to portion out, so you can satisfy that sweet tooth without overdoing it.
Try this: For perfectly-portioned desserts that don’t require any prep work, try our popular Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, Apple Crisp or Chocolate Lava Cake.
Whether you’re enjoying a meal at home or out with friends, being aware of your portion sizes is important. When there’s an amazing spread of food right within your grasp, it can be easy to put more on your plate than you need. Making sure you have the appropriate portions could help support your weight loss by emphasizing fresh (or frozen!) foods that provide a balance of healthy carbohydrates, protein and fat, rather than less nutritious options.
Interested in a portion-conscious weight loss program? With Jenny Craig, portion control is built right in! Delicious entrées are freshly made, simply frozen and designed to support effective weight loss. You’ll also enjoy a selection of snacks, shakes and decadent desserts. Choose from a variety of convenient, healthy plans made to fit every lifestyle — and eat 6x a day!
Get started by choosing your menu today!
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig and has written for the health and wellness, tech, and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. They employ an “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoy the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find them photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter
Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RDN
Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.
Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and fact-checked by Briana Rodriquez, RDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Jenny Craig.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.
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