5 Tips to Tame Your Sweet Tooth This Holiday Season
Knowledge for Life - December 2021
K-State Health & Food Safety Extension Agent for Johnson County
Holidays are famous for gathering with friends and family, feeling the glow of festive décor, and indulging in all the yummy holiday treats that only appear at this special time of year. And while ignorance is bliss, it’s not very forgiving, and joy quickly turns to regret when the boundaries of excess are broken. One of the biggest holiday overindulgences is sugary foods, but here are 5 tips to help tame your sweet tooth this holiday season:
- Look for “Added Sugars” – Did you know the Nutrition Facts label was recently updated to help consumers identify added sugars in products? Some foods like dairy products and fruit naturally contain sugar, but these sugars aren’t considered as detrimental to our health as added sugars since they contain other essential nutrients—unlike added sugars. Comparing the added sugars between products can help you make healthier choices.
- Avoid Sweetened Beverages – Sweet drinks are often loaded with added sugars, and liquids are easier to the consumer than solids, so massively consuming sweetened beverages is a prime opportunity for overindulging on sugar. And be mindful that coffee drinks, sports drinks, alcoholic cocktails, and fruit juices can pack just as much a sugary punch as regular soda.
- Cut the Sugar When Baking – It’s essential to follow baking recipes because all the ingredients rely on each other to perform certain chemical reactions, but there is wiggle room. Most baking recipes can tolerate less sugar without negative effects. It may take some experimenting, but a good place to start is by cutting a third to a half of the sugar that’s called for in the original recipe.
- Roast Your Veggies – Some holiday casseroles take healthy ingredients like sweet potatoes and add tons of sugar to boost their flavor. Instead of adding sugar, maximize their natural sugars by roasting chopped veggies in some olive oil with a little salt and pepper in a 400°F until they’re deliciously browned and crisp.
- Prioritize Your Sleep – It is recommended that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep, but many of us often fall short of this margin. This can trigger hunger cues in the brain because it’s requiring extra fuel to function, and the brain’s favorite fuel is glucose—also known as sugar.