Tips for Portion Sizes During the Holidays

Nutrition Advice
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So many people overeat during the holidays – both for physical and emotional reasons. Food is here to nourish us and to provide us with the necessary nutrients to function optimally.

We must treat food as sacred and healing. I believe when we develop a stronger mind/body awareness and love for ourselves, we will make better food choices and use food to nourish our bodies rather than to fill certain emotional gaps.

When we develop a stronger connection with our bodies we can learn to tune into our signals of fullness and respect those signals. 

Here are my top tips:

  1. Serve dinner on a smaller plate. If you’re eating from a communal table at a big family dinner and making selections from larger shared plates, try and fill your plate up once so you know how much you’re going to be eating.
  2. Eat slowly and chew each mouthful of food 20 times.
  3. Swallow food before the next mouthful. Put your knife and fork down! This also means you’ll have a chance to enjoy the meal and chat to your family
  4. Eat regularly – I suggest 2 protein-rich snacks in between your main meals to ensure blood sugar stabilisation = appetite control. This will prevent you from overeating at your main meal.
  5. The protein and carbohydrate component on your plate should be around the size of your palm each – and add plenty of unlimited greens! Remember you can always offer to bring a salad to help the host (which means you’ll always know there’s a healthier option for you).
  6. Are you stressed or anxious? This time of year it’s easy to choose food for comfort as we rush around trying to get things together. Doing this means you are likely to overeat and digestion shuts off. Instead, enjoy something else delicious such as a walk, a cup of herbal tea and a chapter of your book, a hot lavender bath, your favourite TV show, a restorative yoga pose, or especially during the holidays, enjoying time with people you love.
  7. Remember that food is ABUNDANT. You only have to look at the holiday feast you and your family have created to see this! You have your next meal coming. Food is not running away. Realising this relives anxiety for many people. Don’t try and skip meals before a big lunch or dinner to accommodate this, either. It’s important to still eat small, regular meals.
  8. Give yourself some credit and remember how amazing you are – when you have love for yourself you will treat your body like a temple and you wont want to fill your body with junk and overeat. You will be in tune with when you are full.
  9. Drink 2 glasses of water 20 minutes before your main meal to fill you up slightly, BUT NOT WITH YOUR MEAL. Water dilutes the digestive enzymes you need to help you break down your food.




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Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.


Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!


Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!


I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.