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:
- Homemade apple chips
- Zucchini bread made with honey instead of sugar
- Gluten-free pumpkin bars
- Mini pecan pie tarts made with dates instead of sugar
- Desserts made with sugar-free jello such as pudding or cheesecake
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.