Too Much Sugar? Tips to Survive the Holiday Treats
Is there such a thing as too much sugar? I imagine moms of young ones would shout “Yes!”
We’re entering the food season…Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and finally Christmas. And there’s certainly memories to be made trick or treating with the little ones or gathering around the Thanksgiving table or sitting by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate.
If we don’t handle this time right, we’ll be making New Year’s resolutions driven by guilt and remorse of eating too much sugar and junk over the holidays.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can navigate these times, not by avoiding them, but by enjoying them and still wake up January 1 with the same plan as we had on October 31st and December 25th.
Because sweets seem to show up at every table from now until the end of December, I want to give you some practical tips on choices you make and ways to make some of your favorite dishes a bit healthier. (Go here for even more ways!)
- Chocolate – Go for the dark chocolate. It’s known to contain antioxidants, has less sugar, and is dairy free.
- Nuts – Nuts add some protein and healthy fat and therefore gives you a sense of fullness better than something that is simply a sugary carb. Think almond or peanut M&Ms rather than plain.
- Flour options when baking – Oat flour, almond meal, and coconut flour are all good choices if you choose to bake a treat for your visitors. For the most part, these flours can be substituted 1:1 for regular flour but be sure that you use the proper leavening agents so that the dish still comes out as intended.
- Sweeteners – Natural sweeteners like honey, pure maple syrup, and stevia are some options to consider. Coconut sugar is another popular option. Stay away from high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. In some recipes reducing the amount of sugar called for doesn’t have much impact on the outcome. Baking cookies that calls for a cup of sugar? Reduce by one-fourth to one-half. Likely no one will notice!
- Protein powder – This is also an option to add a little flavor (vanilla or chocolate) in the place of the sugar and/or flour. You just have to play around with it. Katie at Dashing Dish uses protein powder in several of her healthy recipes.
- Water – I can’t emphasize enough the importance of drinking your water. If you do nothing else over the course of the holiday season, drink your water. Aim for half your body weight in ounces each day. This will automatically reduce your desire to be drinking other things like sugary sodas or cocktails or hot drinks with all the extras. Consider warm water with lemon to start your day and a cup of decaf green tea to finish off your day.
- Move – Try to include movement into each day. You don’t have to spend an hour at the gym everyday. It can simply be a walk around the block after dinner. You can take 15 minutes to stretch to start or end your day. Pick up a pair of dumbbells and do some bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, and squats. Keep it simple, but be sure to move.
To be clear, sugar is not the enemy. But it can be troublesome. We know that our bodies don’t work efficiently on too much sugar. It does not sustain our energy. It doesn’t build muscle. In moderation, sweets and treats are okay. But we can’t let those things be our main source of nutrition.
The point of this time of year, and really everyday, is to live it and enjoy it to the fullest.
You can honor your body and enjoy the holiday treats and traditions at the same time. Click To Tweet