How to Avoid Overdoing It at the Thanksgiving Feast This Year

Thanksgiving is on Thursday and we can’t wait for our favorite holiday traditions. Sneaking tastes while making the classic pumpkin pie, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, gathering with friends and family—we’re so excited! Our mouths are already watering at the thought of buttery mashed potato mounds, sweet and tangy cranberry sauce, and of course, perfectly juicy and flavorful turkey. As we’re sure many of you can relate to, each year our eyes are a little bigger than our stomachs and we end up pigging out on so much food that we can hardly move when the meal is over. This year, we’ve got some tips to help you make sure you don’t overdo it at dinner. 

The secret to success? Portion sizes. You can still enjoy all the good stuff without feeling miserably full afterward. But how can you make sure you stick to the right serving sizes? Your hosts or guests might think it’s weird if you break out the measuring cups and tablespoons when you’re serving up your heaping Thanksgiving plate. Some sources recommend aiming for the size of everyday objects for various dishes (for example, your serving of cranberry sauce should equal the size of a spool of thread), but if you don’t have the actual object in hand, measuring out a deck-of-cards-sized piece of turkey can be kind of hard to visualize. So what’s a hungry guest to do? It’s simple, really. Use your hands.

First, let’s talk about serving sizes. If you don’t typically pay attention to actual portion sizes, you may be surprised at what a healthy serving really looks like. When it comes down to it, we as Americans eat far too much. The sizes we’re served at restaurants may be a great value, but there’s no doubt about it—they’re extremely inflated when we look at what we should really be eating. A serving of butter is about the size of a teaspoon, while you should aim for about half a cup for stuffing. Of course, you can always go back for seconds (and let’s face it, that caramelized sweet potato casserole deserves another round), but we recommend starting with the ideal serving size of each tantalizing dish because it may fill you up better than you think it will!  

So how exactly do you use your hands to measure out your Thanksgiving feast? Well, first, we should mention that what’s recommended for the typical man is different than what is recommended for the average woman. Women should apply the following guide, and men should double each serving. Your piece of turkey should equate to roughly the size of your palm. (So if you’re a man, aim for two palm-sized pieces of turkey.) Your serving of beans, grains, or legumes should be about the size of your fist, as should carbohydrates and vegetables (like a warm, toasty dinner roll or your aunt’s famous green bean casserole). Aim for a fingertip-sized serving for oils and fats, and a serving the size of the tip of your thumb for fats, nut butters, or cheese. Of course, we’re not suggesting you stick your hand into the mashed potatoes bowl to scoop out your serving (unless you’re trying to avoid being invited back for next year’s festivities). You can easily eyeball it by scooping out a bit and holding your hand near the food to see if it’s roughly the same size. Of course, this method isn’t 100% accurate, but it’s a good rule of thumb when you’re trying to practice restraint at Thanksgiving dinner—or for any meal, really!  And remember, even though there are probably 25 tempting dishes to try, we’d recommend picking and choosing a few of your favorite dishes to avoid overdoing it. Eating the right portion sizes won’t do you much good if you’re eating three meals worth of Thanksgiving dishes!

We hope we didn’t put a damper on your dreams of devouring a mashed potato mountain. We certainly can’t wait to pile the goodies on our plates this Thursday—within reason, of course! (And hey, if you take it easy during dinner, you’ll have more room for dessert!) The best part, we have everything we need to eat a sensible meal right with us. It’s just another reason our hands are so useful! Enjoy your day reflecting on the wonderful people and blessings in your life. Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’re dealing with a hand condition that causes pain or makes it difficult to use your hands, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your hand health is our priority—and it should be yours as well! We’ll work with you to find a personalized treatment plan so you can get back to doing the things you love most (like whipping up Thanksgiving pies in the kitchen). To stay up-to-date on everything happening at HSST, make sure to follow us on Facebook. Our hands heal yours!