The festive season is officially upon us, and while we’re huge advocates of relaxing a little and indulging, we don’t think that that the holidays are an excuse to go overboard. There’s a fine tipping point where an indulgence can easily turn into an overindulgence, when the aim is to treat yourself – not stuff yourself!
So here’s our top tips for enjoying this holiday period without going overboard on sugar:
Make your own sweet treats and desserts
This time of year is always hectic and busy – but don’t fall into the trap of leaving everything till the last minute and having to rely on store-bought desserts and baked goods. A simple glance at the ingredient lists of these products will showcase just how much refined sugars are packed into these convenient options.
While you could skip dessert altogether, you could also do the next best thing and make a dessert of your own using healthier sugar alternatives and natural sweeteners like Stevia.
Need inspiration? Check out our fail-proof No Added Sugar Pumpkin Pie!
Make smarter swaps on the treats you do buy.
If experimenting in the kitchen really isn’t your forte or not a time-permitting option, at least make the effort to pick ‘better for you’ options as you do your festive grocery haul.
There’s a plethora of healthier options out there – you just have to know how to look for them and where to find them! Look past the salty snacks, sugar-laden biscuit, soft drinks and Christmas-themed chocolates, and instead opt for equally flavourful fresh fruit, natural nuts and naturally sweetened soft drinks or kombuchas.
Here’s a simple dessert swap featuring our Noshu Dark Choc and Raspberry donut.
If you have to have a little of the sugary ‘junk’ on your shopping list, at least avoid buying huge boxes of chocolates, tins of cookies or over-sized anything!
We know it’s tempting to ‘stock up’ and make sure you have enough to go around over Christmas, especially if you’re the host entertaining some friends or family – but most of the time, we never really need just as much food as we think we do!
Avoid having an excess of treats hanging around ‘waiting to be eaten’, and instead, limit yourself to smaller portioned sweets and share them around so that the sugary ‘burden’ isn’t all on you!
Don’t be afraid to re-gift any sweets you’re given!
Chocolate will always be a go-to gift over Christmas, and it’s inevitable that even if you do your best not to purchase any sweets, they’ll somehow end up in your hands.
Don’t feel obliged to eat the sugary treats headed your way if you really don’t want them – keep them sealed and pass them on to a friend or colleague instead, or even better, donate them to a Christmas gift-collecting charity. Sharing is caring after all!
Have a plan in mind and be selective
When plates are being handed around over the festive season, it’s tempting to enter the mindset of just ‘having a bit of everything’ – the result is an overload of sugar and calories that you didn’t even enjoy! Remember that it’s not a case of all or nothing at Christmas – you can easily practice moderation without going overboard, or even worse – having to force unrealistic restrictions on yourself.
Instead of trying to avoid eating in the morning to ‘save calories’, try to have a big glass of water and a high-protein snack early in the day to avoid arriving to the table absolutely ravenous and vulnerable to over-eating. Base your meals around a protein source and fresh salad or roast veggies, and eat gradually and mindfully.
When it comes to treats, the trick for avoiding mindlessly nibbling at everything on offer, stuffing yourself silly with sweets or trying to ban yourself from indulging altogether – is to have a game-plan and to identify your favourite seasonal treat to make room for. Take the time to savour good quality chocolate or a homemade baked good, enjoy every mouthful, and politely decline anything extra that isn’t worth it.
At the end of the day, healthy living is all about balance, enjoyment and moderation – and the festive season is no reason to throw it all out the window.
Eat the foods you love mindfully, practice moderation, enjoy the company of your loved ones – and remember, if you do ‘slip up’ or go a little overboard, don’t beat yourself up! Check out our blog post next week on ‘What to do when you go over-indulge on sugar!’ for your fail-proof plan.
Feel free to share your tips for not succumbing to sugar below!