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Holiday food guide: no sugar added

Eating healthy during the holidays is challenging, and it’s even tougher if you’re trying to cut down on added sugar. But that’s a good and necessary goal for many Tennesseans — especially those of us struggling with diabetes (14%) or extra weight (68%).

Here are 5 ways to help control the holiday sugar surge:

1. Set goals

Instead of saying you’re not going to eat dessert all winter, be specific. Say:

  • I will only eat 3 sweets per week.
  • I will only eat sweets made mostly with nutritious ingredients such as nuts or whole grains.
  • On days I know I’m going to indulge in sweets, I will only drink water or unsweetened beverages to balance things out.

2. Talk about it

  • Recruit a partner for each celebration who knows your goals and can help keep you accountable.
  • If there’s a certain food you know you won’t be able to resist — grandma’s chess pie, for example — make the experience meaningful. Eat a small portion mindfully and take time to savor the flavor and the memories.
  • If anyone gets pushy about sweets, say something like: “My doctor told me I have to be careful with sugar.”

3. Eat before you go

  • If you know you’re prone to binge on sugary buffets, eat a snack that’s high in fiber and protein before you go.
  • If you’re extra concerned about sugary temptations, try eating a full, healthy meal before and only indulge in one dessert while you’re there.

4. Don’t drink your sugar

  • Skip the punch bowl. Everything in it will likely be full of added sugar.
  • If you’re going to drink alcohol, limit it to 1 drink for women and 2 for men.
  • Try drinking sparkling soda with a squirt of citrus. That way you won’t have to count drinks, calories or carbs, and you’ll stay hydrated.

5. Bring a no-sugar-added dish such as:

For more healthy snack ideas for people with diabetes, click here

To learn more about added sugar, click here to read Libby’s story of cutting back. 

Ashley Brantley

Ashley Brantley has been writing about food, culture and health for more than a decade, and has lived in three of Tennessee’s four major cities (Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville).

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Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.

WellTuned provides inspiration and practical advice for healthy living.
WellTuned does not offer medical advice. Any personal health questions should be addressed to your doctor.

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