How to Survive the Sugar Season

healthy holiday eating tips

Has anyone else been doing a little overindulging when it comes to sugar lately? I haven’t done my holiday baking yet (oops, better add that one to my to do list!), but I can’t stop buying bags of peanut M&Ms. For some reason, they’re even more appealing when they’re in holiday colors (and this applies to Valentine’s Day, Fall, Halloween, etc.). Does anyone else have that problem? Just me. Well okay then…

Thankfully, my go-to gal when it comes to nutrition, Andrea Drew has some healthy holiday eating tips for us. We’re talking about getting through this festive, sugary season with balance. Still enjoy but don’t let it get out of control. So here’s Andrea: 

5 Tips to Survive the Sugar Season

Holiday Gatherings. Cocktail Parties. Cookie Swaps. Reunions. The sugar season (better known as the holiday season) is upon us. This time of year is full of so many food-focused festivities that you will undoubtedly find yourself around many cupcakes, cookies and candy canes. Combine that with the stresses of the season and it’s no wonder that a lot of us end up consuming a lot more sugar than we usually do. Yes, I include myself in that. I love every dessert my mom makes!

So what can you do to stay balanced and manage your sugar intake during the holiday season?

Here are my 5 tips:

  1. BE PREPARED. Sugar is sneaky. Outsmart it by planning ahead. If you’re not prepared, you are more likely to indulge. The situation will dictate how you prepare, but here are a couple strategies to help:
    • If you’re going to a restaurant, check out the menu ahead of time. This will allow you to make the best choice possible without the distractions of what everyone else is ordering.
    • If you’re going to a house party and you don’t know what is being served, take some food with you. Speak to the host/hostess ahead of time and let them know you’d like to bring some dishes. Most people will be more than happy for you to bring a colorful salad, vegetable platter and some quality protein options. If that isn’t an option, make sure you eat ahead of time so you aren’t as tempted by the sugary foods and treats.
  1. KEEP SWEETS OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. Before you know it, cookies will make a daily appearance at your office, holiday parties will have tables lined with sugary treats and your boss will hand you that annual box of chocolate covered Oreos as a holiday gift (that can’t be just me, right?!) My point is … sweets will be everywhere, so don’t bring them home! Sweets are far less tempting if you have to run to the store to get them – am I right?! 
  1. INCREASE WATER AND REDUCE CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL. The energy rollercoaster and dehydration that can stem from drinking caffeine in the morning and alcohol in the evening can make you more susceptible to sugar cravings, so watch your intake. Eggnog, Holiday-tini’s, ciders and other holiday cocktails can pack enough sugar to send your blood sugar soaring and those gingerbread lattes can pack in 50 grams of sugar on the high end (which is double the recommended daily intake of added sugar in just one drink)! Speaking of dehydration, water is a must when you’re battling sugar. Dehydration can sometimes manifest itself as sugar cravings, so drink up! If you find yourself staring at a plate of cookies, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see if you’re still craving the sugary stuff.  
  1. EAT YOUR GREENS(And other magnesium rich foods). Sugar cravings can be a result of magnesium deficiency, so as the holidays and sugary treats start swirling around, make sure you’re including dark leafy greens, nuts & seeds, fish and avocado into your diet to help fight off those cravings. And, if you do have a piece of pie or a cookie, you won’t have to worry! When you’re eating daily sources of magnesium, your body is better able to deal with the fructose so you won’t get huge sugar highs and lows.
  1. GET YOUR ZZZZs. Lack of sleep affects your appetite hormones and is a major contributor to sugar cravings. When you’re sleep deprived, your body is constantly looking for a quick burst of energy and the simplest form of that is sugar! So before your next holiday gathering, or honestly just walking into the office, make sure you’re getting a full nights sleep!

Keep these 5 tips in mind and you’ll easily be able to leave all of the cookies out for Santa and pick up a few extra carrots for you and the reindeer! I wish you a wonderful holiday season full of nutritious food and quality time with friends and family!

Thanks so much to Andrea for these great tips! If you’re looking for a little health boost and sugar detox in the new year, stay tuned and check out Andrea’s 10-Day Sugar Detox coming in January. If you’ll remember, I did her 21-Day Sugar Detox back in the summer and was thrilled with the results. And trust me, if I can do it for 10. You (and I) can do it for 10!

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