Any chance you read the title of this post and thought to yourself, “Yeah, right!”?
We thought so. Avoiding sugar during the holiday season can seem impossible when we consider all of the delicious treats that are commonly enjoyed during this time of year. However, for those individuals who are trying to curb a sugar addiction or simply trying to avoid sugar to promote a healthy lifestyle, it’s no easy task.
While health-conscious individuals often talk about avoiding trans fats and sodium intake, they sometimes forget to mention the silent offender, sugar. In fact, many people don’t recognize the signs of a sugar addiction, but if you more than often feel like you need some post-dinner sweets, the cravings you’re having may be more than what they seem, and acting on them too often can lead to health issues like weight gain, liver damage, and metabolic dysfunction. Cutting as much sugar as possible out of your diet can help you avoid sugar addiction and kick its damaging health effects to the curb.
That being said, for anyone who is trying to control their sugar intake, the holidays can be a trying time. Luckily, there are a few rules of thumb we can follow to avoid sugar this season. Check out the list below for some tips on how to stick to your health goals even when dessert is served:
Bring Your Own Food or Eat Before You Go - Of course, we don’t usually reach for a healthy, filling dinner before attending a holiday party, and we most certainly aren’t used to bringing tupperware to our friends’ and family’s houses, but these are both great tactics for avoiding sugar intake during the holiday season, when everything seems to be rolled in the stuff. Filling your belly with nutritious food before you head off to a party will lessen the chance that you will be tempted to fill up on sweets, and will prime your body to crave healthy food instead of gooey brownies.
Find a Support System - Do you have a significant other, family member, or friend who is also trying to stay healthy? Consider making a no-sugar pact with someone who is likely to stick to the lifestyle change. Studies show that we are more likely to commit to healthy habits when we have someone else to motivate us, so teaming up with someone you love makes the feat a bit easier.
Share Your Goals - Telling others about your decision to avoid sugar is destined to make your life easier. While you may want to show your great aunt how much you love her sugar cookies, she’s sure to understand why you aren’t reaching for them at dessert this year if you communicate your goals to her. Explain to your family and friends why you’re doing what you’re doing, and they’re sure to support you!
Don’t Reach for the Champagne - There are hidden sugars in tons of our foods, but the ones in alcohol are some of the sneakiest. If you feel called to continue your normal alcohol intake throughout the holiday season, avoid ciders and gin and tonics, and stick to wine and beer instead.
Say No to Baking - Even if your friends and family can never get enough of your famous pies, take it upon yourself to say no to baking this year. Consider all off the extra sugar you consume while “taste-testing” your homemade desserts, and then think about what happens when you have extra batches of cookies, for example, lying around the house. Avoiding sugar at all costs clearly means making some sacrifices, and as long as you’re keeping your loved ones up-to-date on your health endeavors, they’re sure to understand.
Let Yourself Live - Of course, in a perfect world, we could stop all sugar intake and be happier than usual, but obviously that’s not always the case. Instead of torturing yourself this holiday season with an all-or-nothing-attitude, allow yourself to have a bite or two of your favorite dessert. Small portions once in awhile can satisfy your holiday sweet tooth without damaging your health, and allowing yourself to indulge every so often will keep your cravings at bay and keep you from binging at every taste of sugar. Everything in moderation, Superfoodies!