Ten Tips for a Sweet & Happy Holiday
Chocolate and candy have long been a special and fun part of the winter holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah and the celebration of the New Year, and today these treats continue to be an integral component of holiday celebrations and family traditions. If you keep a couple of these tips in mind, the whole family can enjoy treats during the holidays while maintaining a happy, balanced lifestyle.
Understand Candy Portions
Most people in the U.S. enjoy chocolate and candy 2-3 times per week, averaging about 40 calories per day and about one teaspoon of added sugar per day from confectionery items. Candy accounts for less than 2 percent of the average American’s overall caloric intake.
Make a Plan
During the holidays, there will be many events serving treats. Think about when and how you want to treat yourself, so you are not faced with making an on-the-spot decision. You can also prepare for holiday events by choosing a lighter lunch or incorporating a brisk walk in your day.
Focus on Favorites
Whether it’s your favorite peanut brittle or candy cane truffles, everyone has a few of their holiday favorites. Enjoy these special treats and skip the rest or swap them for lower-calorie alternatives.
Celebrate with Candy in Different Ways
It’s exciting to sample candy items during the holidays, but remember that you can enjoy candy in other ways, too. Decorating gingerbread houses, playing dreidel, hanging candy canes on the tree, discovering sweets in an Advent calendar or baking with some of your favorite candy and chocolates are fun ways to include treats in your celebrations.
Model Good Behavior
Parents often use holidays as an opportunity to talk to their children about the importance of balance. Show your children how to enjoy a balanced diet that can incorporate the occasional treat.
Mint – it’s the Flavor of the Season
Mints and sugar-free gum are great options to enjoy the flavor of the season. These little treats typically contain only 5-10 calories each, and might help you curb your desire to sample an additional appetizer or another glass of wine!
Don’t Forget the Chocolate
While chocolate and cocoa products are some of the most tasty holiday treats, they may also play a special role in the diet. Some types of dark chocolate and cocoa contain antioxidants called flavanols, which studies suggest may promote heart health.
Stay Active with Fun Winter Activities
Be sure to maintain your exercise routine around the holidays. Outdoor activities, like ice skating, skiing and sledding, are easy ways to incorporate exercise into your holiday plans.
Savor the Flavor
Slowing down and mindfully consuming chocolate and candy can help maximize enjoyment and reduce mindless overeating. This holiday season, try to focus on the textures and unique flavors of confectionery to help enhance your enjoyment of treats.
Don’t Prohibit Treats
Recent research suggests that restriction may increase your child’s desire for the very treats parents attempt to limit. The same goes for you! Overly emphasizing restriction of treats may lead to overindulgence in adults, too.
So, instead of restricting treats, use these tips to make a plan to embrace balance.