The holiday season is filled with tempting treats. Decadent pies are likely front and center in your mind’s eye, and cookie exchanges, fudgy gifts, and bowls of eggnog and punch can quickly add up to major sugar bombs. Whether you’re hosting parties this year or a guest at friends’ and family events, pay attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. You may find that your New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to revolve around your diet this year.
Most of the holiday sugar bombs come from sweets. When it comes to pies, pecan pie is probably the worst offender with 33 grams of sugar per slice. Keep in mind the World Health Organization recommends daily sugar intake for adults at 25 grams or 6 teaspoons. One slice of pecan pie well exceeds that recommendation. Apple pie is another sugar bomb. Extra sugar is often added to sweeten the fruit; and it may also have a crumb topping, which is sugar in another form. Instead of pie, try opting for baked apples which contain a lot less sugar than their pie counterparts because the fruit’s natural sugar is used as a sweetener instead of additional processed sugar.
If you are tempted by the table toppers of candy creations that are frequently showcased before, during, and after meals, keep in mind the type of chocolate that you eat. Dark chocolate contains no added cream and less sugar than other types of chocolate. Milk chocolate has added cream and sugar and white chocolate contains even more.
Don’t forget to watch what you drink as well. Many holiday beverages, including hot chocolate, have tons of additional sugar that can add up quickly. A 16-ounce hot chocolate can have up to 400 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar. Eggnog, with or without rum, includes not only fat but also a ton of sugar – 20 grams to be exact – in just one cup. And that energy drink you consume to climb out of bed earlier than the kids on Christmas morning is an additional 8 grams of sugar—before breakfast!
Sticking to a reasonable diet doesn’t have to mean giving up all treats this holiday season. Avoid sugar bombs while indulging in snacks like cocoa-covered almonds, fat-free kettle corn, and pumpkin pie.
Also, homemade treats tend to have less sugar than their store-bought versions. Try dipping fruit in dark chocolate instead of serving a box of chocolate-covered cherries. Make gingerbread cookies instead of buying the frosting-covered, sugar cookies in the store. For breakfast, make your own whole-grain, cinnamon rolls with icing instead of downing a bakery version. Even when it comes to savory items, like salad dressing and rolls, choose homemade over store-bought versions that often have added sugar.
By keeping these tricks in mind, you can avoid sugar bombs and still enjoy a sweet New Year.