The holiday season can be difficult to avoid the temptations of all the delicious and sugary treats that always seem to lurk around. Fortunately, a few simple steps can make getting through the holiday season a little easier. Avoiding the holiday sugar crash is not impossible. Learn how to stay on the track below.
Understanding Hidden Sugars
It’s probably understood by now that excess sugar harms the body and mind for many reasons. What might not be as well known is that there are many hidden sugar sources in seemingly innocent foods. Condiments, fruit juices, sauces, granola, cereal bars, flavored coffees, iced teas, and low-fat products like yogurt and salad dressings can contain added sugars that can quickly add up. By becoming aware of these hidden sugars and making simple diet adjustments, reducing sugar intake will become less of a challenge.
Limiting calories from added sugar to less than 10% of your total calories per day is recommended. For example, if approximately 2,000 calories are consumed daily, that would translate to about 200 calories or 50 grams of added sugar a day. Reading and understanding food labels can make this process much easier.
Make Use of Healthier Alternatives
Most foods contain some form of sugar, but processed foods usually have some of the highest amounts of added sugars. Cutting down on processed, packaged, and canned foods can significantly affect sugar consumption and extra salt and preservatives that are extremely unhealthy.
Alternatively, habitually fill your pantry with whole foods like oats, nuts, raisins, and seeds. Alternative flours for baking, such as almond and coconut flours, contain higher nutrients while low in sugars and carbohydrates. Try sweetening holiday baking with natural and unprocessed ingredients like raw honey, 100% maple syrup, molasses, coconut, and date sugar. In moderation, these substitutes will satisfy your sweet tooth and make healthier overall choices.
You can replace your sweet holiday treats with several healthy ingredients. Instead of using the usual flour and chocolate that contains high sugar content for making chocolate mousse, use low-sugar ingredients such as avocado, coconut milk, and real cocoa powder. Serving the dessert with crushed pistachios and raspberries on top will give added color while keeping the delectable sugary flavor health-conscious.
Learning new healthy versions of recipes for holiday favorites can be a fun and inspiring way to enjoy the season without sacrificing health.
Don’t Eliminate Exercise
Skipping out on your regular fitness routine while eating holiday treats is one of the main reasons why weight gain and sugar crashes happen over vacation time. Exercise will release those endorphins needed to help manage mood and fulfillment, making healthy habits seem easier. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. Going for a light jog, a walk around the block, or performing other light cardiovascular exercises that are easy on the joints will contribute to your physical and mental health during the busy holiday season.
Participate in Holiday Activities
Overeating holiday treats during the holidays is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. While there is no perfect solution, there are ways to substitute holiday eating with other holiday pursuits. Engaging in fun, festive indoor activities like going to concerts or plays, participating in board games, or playing cards with friends and family can provide an enjoyable distraction from overeating. Outdoor recreation, like ice skating, skiing, snowshoeing, or simply taking a walk outside in the fresh air, can be a fun and exciting way to enjoy the holidays while keeping your waistline in check. So, rather than sitting on the couch eating unhealthy snacks and watching holiday movies all day long, try participating in some fun activities instead! It may be surprising just how much enjoyment you get from them.
Avoiding the sugar crash and keeping energy levels up through the holiday season and throughout the year does not have to be painful. Write these simple reminders on a health checklist and place them in an area of your home where it is visible.
Drinking a lot of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and eating protein-rich foods such as eggs, nuts, and lean meats can effectively sustain energy levels all day long.
Finally, don’t skip meals! Be sure to incorporate plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables into every meal; this will help digestion and help you feel full longer. When your body is fed with quality fuel, it will crave less sugar and junk.
Remember, the holidays are supposed to be fun. Taking the right steps to invest in a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying the holiday celebrations can help you feel your best at all times.
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