For many years, I’ve had the rewarding opportunity to counsel our customers and associates on the challenges related to managing holiday eating. It seems that everywhere we turn there are sugary treats and drinks tempting us. However, the holidays can be a meaningful time, rather than challenging time of year if you’re mindful about keeping them simple, keeping your thoughts present, and showing gratitude. If you practice these things, the tempting holiday sweets will take a backseat to the really important things that take place during the holidays.
Below are my 5 simple ways to reduce your holiday sugar intake and handle cravings without sacrificing fun and flavor.
1. Meet the Challenges Armed with a Plan
- Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish/dessert along. Chances are that everyone will love it!
- If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.
- Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. It will be harder to keep your appetite in control.
2. Outsmart the Buffet
- Use a small plate and start with vegetables to increase fiber and take the edge off of your appetite.
- Search out whole grains, sweet potatoes, quinoa and veggie noodles. These foods show up readily on buffet tables these days.
- Eat slowly! It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you’re full.
3. Fit in Favorites
- Savor a small serving of your favorite dessert.
- Top your pie with a dollop of low sugar vanilla yogurt.
- Make your own crisp or crumble with almond flour, oats, coconut oil, maple syrup or honey (instead of refined sugars). The fruit base (apples, pears, berries) will lend a lot of natural sweetness and flavor.
4. Keep Moving
- Not only does exercise increase endorphins and inspire a positive mood, it can also serve as a distraction when you find yourself focusing a little too much on that cup of eggnog.
5. Get your Zzzz’s
- Sleep loss will make it harder to control your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food.
- Most of all, remember what the holiday season is all about celebrating and connecting with the people you care about. When you keep life simple and focus more on the fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food.