Cookies, pies, candies, chocolates, sugary cocktails, and more. The holiday season is rarely complete without these tasty sweets. But did you know that most holiday desserts contain more than the daily recommended amount of sugar per serving?
Our 5-2-1-0 program recommends drinking 0 sugary drinks, but sweet treats do a number on your health and diet too. Eating too many sweets can permanently damage your metabolism, lead to a number of health problems like cancer and heart attacks, and leave you feeling less than after curbing the craving.
If you’re looking for a healthier way to satisfy your sweet tooth this holiday season, swap out sugar for these 10 healthier alternatives.
- Use fruit juice concentrates, honey, Stevia, agave nectar, monk fruit sweetener, and other natural sweeteners in place of processed white sugar when baking or reduce the amount of sugar in each recipe by half.
- Set a goal—and stick to it—to only eat so many sweets per week (one slice of pie max, for example)
- Opt for “no sugar” days, especially the day after a holiday party or day when you’ve exceeded your recommended sweets intake.
- Skip liquid sugar, including eggnog and hot chocolate, for treats you really want. This includes alcohol too, as many holiday alcoholic drinks contain extra sugar. Drink more water
- Keep sweets out of your house. Don’t bring leftover sweets home or make more than you need. Share them with a friend or neighbor instead.
- Always eat a healthy, well-balanced meal first. You’ll crave desserts less and be able to resist the temptation for a nibble. Don’t skip meals or save calories for holiday meals either.
- Try healthier versions of holiday favorites. These skinny pumpkin pies, peppermint mocha poke cakes, and skinny chocolate and peanut butter bark recipes will do the trick.
- Resist grazing. Only fill your plate with foods you know you’ll eat. Step away from the food or dessert table at holiday gatherings—out of sight, out of mind.
- Pair sugary treats with healthy fats and fiber. Whole grains, nuts, and seeds can help to slow the absorption of sugar, plus fiber helps you to feel full (less grazing).
- Listen to your body and stop eating when you feel full. Overeating leaves you feeling sluggish and sick. If you feel stuffed after dinner, skip the desserts!