Instead of Chocolate…Advice for Sweets and Treats

Hello Readers!  Brace yourselves.  The calories are going to come pouring in for the next few weeks until the end of the year.  This is the time when all diets disappear and people pack on the pounds.  But there are ways to make this easier on yourself.

First of all, it’s crucial to maintain a happy balance.  It is impossible to imagine that you will avoid all sweets and treats, so don’t cut yourself off completely.  When we cut ourselves off completely, we are more likely to give in to temptation.  And then we feel like failures for not sticking to our resolution.  So, don’t restrict yourself completely.  Instead, try to stick to a certain amount per day or per week.  Something like one dessert per week and one sweet (cookie, piece of candy, etc) per day is reasonable.  For the rest of the temptations, try substitutions.

So, this is a difficult resolution, but try to focus on substituting healthy options when cravings hit.  Instead of eating a second piece of chocolate, try to reach for oranges or fresh fruit and nuts.  Instead of another helping of those cheese-smothered Au Gratin potatoes, try the roasted veggies or undressed salad.  The key is to substitute those cravings for healthier ones, and that includes drinks.  Be sure to always drink responsibly, but try this method: for every cocktail, drink one glass of water.  Alternate them, too.  After one cocktail, drink a glass of water before drinking any more.  The key is to maintain a healthy balance and maintain moderation.

Not sure if healthy options will be available to substitute?  Why not bring a healthy dish to ensure one?  I love to take a tray of roasted Brussels Sprouts to holiday parties because they are healthy and easy to make.  Best of all, the ingredients are simple and minimal: olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and Brussels Sprouts.  And at every party that I attend, my dish is always one of the first ones devoured.  But, it’s the perfect dish to take since it guarantees a healthy option on the table.

As for treats that people gift to you, try to do one of the following options.  First, try to leave treats in the work break room for everyone, if you can.  This helps prevent excessive eating by ensuring that the temptation is not in your own home.  If they are at work and you are in the break room, try drinking a glass of water to avoid temptation.  Instead of indulging in that treat, have a glass of water from the fountain and let it settle for awhile.  Chances are the temptation will pass.  Best of all, this will help you get your water intake every day.

If you can’t leave them at work, try to take them to a party to share with guests.  This option is great because people will love the excess treats and they can gobble them up for you.  Just try to limit them yourself so as to avoid the excess calories.  Again, try drinking a glass of water instead or have a piece of fruit that may be offered.

If neither of these is an option, consider stashing some of the treats away for later.  Freezing half or more away can help you limit your intake of treats.  And sometimes, the old adage of “Out of sight, out of mind” can help you curb those temptations.  To help with this, keep fresh fruit stocked in your home at all times.  For our household, I purchase Haloes/Mandarin oranges every other week and keep them in our fruit bowl in the center of our table.  Whenever the cravings hit, it’s easier to grab a mandarin orange from the bowl than to search the fridge or pantry for junk food.

And above all else, give yourself credit.  You can do this!  Just remember to maintain moderation and always tell yourself that each day is a new day to make the right choices.  Practice self control and you can maintain your healthy eating practices while enjoying the holidays.

Until next time,

-BBM

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