The holidays are filled with fun, family, and great food. However, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet during this time. Don’t give up! One of the best ways to stay on track is by cutting back on sugar during the holidays. You still get to spend quality time with those around you, but without the guilt. Check out our 6 tips for cutting back on sugar:
- Skip the creamer in your coffee. We know how essential morning coffee can be, but we also know the dangers of added sugar in the diet. Keep the coffee but skip the sugary creamer. Creamer can add upwards of 50 calories to a cup of coffee, in addition to extra fat and added sugar. If you absolutely cannot drink your coffee black, add a splash of milk. If you’re looking for extra flavor, brew your coffee with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and cloves with the coffee grounds for a sugar-free flavor burst.
- Choose plain yogurt. While yogurt is a great source of protein and healthy probiotics, flavored yogurt is extremely high in added sugar. One serving can hold over 16 grams of sugar. That’s more sugar than a serving of cookies! If you need a little bit of sweet with your yogurt, add a small amount of honey to plain yogurt.
- Make your own salad dressing. More often than not, store-bought salad dressing has added sugar. Even the more healthy options will have some type of sugar added. It is best to make your own at home. There are many recipes available online, and you can adjust to you and your family’s tastes as desired. We love the simple combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a pinch of fresh pepper. Yum!
- Avoid refined carbohydrates. Simple and refined carbohydrates turn into sugar in your body quickly after consumption. For the days after a big holiday meal or afternoon baking with the grandkids, be sure to avoid all refined carbs to let your body reset after a sugar overload. Refined carbs include most breads (especially white), white rice, cereal, most pastas, most packaged snack foods, etc. Stick to fresh veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains.
- Stick to small doses. If a sugar-filled day is inevitable, take it in small doses. Stick to one or two cookies, a few candies, or only one small cup of hot chocolate. There’s no reason not to enjoy the holidays, just don’t let them derail your diet completely.
- Cut back on alcohol. Holiday parties and family get-togethers are often full of tempting alcoholic beverages. A big trick for cutting sugar during the holiday season is to avoid alcohol. If your aunt makes the best hot buttered rum in town, it’s ok to splurge on one drink but try not to go any further. Not only is the sugar content of alcoholic holiday beverages incredibly high, several drinks will reduce your resolve to stay on track. Stick to cinnamon tea, flavored water, or sparkling apple cider for a bubbly option.