Manage Your Sugar Intake During the Holidays
Your Health on a Sugar High
‘Twas the month of celebration and holiday cheer; a time when loads of sweets and dancing sugar plums appear. As wonderful as it sounds, this time of year, our health on a sugar high is something from which you should steer clear.
According to research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes more than 150 pounds of sugar a year; this includes added or refined sugars like high fructose corn syrup, glucose and other sweeteners.
Donna Kernodle, MPH, RD, LDN, CDE, diabetes education coordinator and registered dietitian at the Joslin Diabetes Center, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, offers the following tips to help manage how much sugar is had during the holidays.
- It’s all about moderation. Choose your favorite sweet food; mine happens to be dark chocolate truffles. Select a modest portion and eat your desired food slowly and really savor the taste and texture.
- Have a snack before attending a party or dinner during the holidays. This will keep you from overeating, especially the sugary items, upon arrival.
- Go for the fresh vegetables with a dip versus the fudge. You will get more fiber along with the phytochemicals found in colorful fruits and vegetables.
- Make wise choices if you drink alcohol. Be sure to have food with alcohol and use diet soda as a mixer. Limit alcohol to one drink for women and two drinks for men.
- Drink plenty of fluids during the holidays. Sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst, so keep your preferred sugar free beverage available and make sure to carry it to holiday gatherings.
- Find sugar free substitutes. By using sugar free jello for cranberry salads, the intake of sugar is decreased and no one will recognize the difference.
- Practice mindful eating, that is, eat with the intention of truly experiencing the Christmas cookie or slice of cake. Focus on the food, chew slowly and recall the memories of people with whom you shared this food in the past.
Learn more about healthy eating habits.