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The holidays are here, bringing celebratory foods that make it easy to go overboard on sugar and seriously derail your health goals. To keep you on track, swap those sweets for healthier options at least 10 times this season. Your energy level (and waistline) will thank you! Get some tips for success below.
Sugar: Too much sugar during the holiday grazing season can zap your energy and add unnecessary calories to your daily diet. If your next holiday meal is heavy on added sugar like pastries, cookies or sweet alcoholic drinks, try swapping them for more nutrition-packed choices. Try the following "sweet swaps" to satisfy cravings without compromising healthy eating.
Sweet Drinks: Instead of high-calorie cocktails, soda, energy drinks or coffee, try water (warm or cold) with fresh mint leaves, lemon slices or cucumber. Herbal tea is another great option, and some teas have natural sweeteners, like cinnamon, to help curb your sweet tooth. If you're craving juice, cut the amount of juice in half, and fill up the rest of the glass with club soda or water.
Hidden Sweets: If you're tempted by the holiday buffet piled high with festive treats, you may mistakenly be consuming unwanted sugar and calories. Sauces like tomato sauce or cranberry sauce often have added sugar. Dressings like salad dressing and coleslaw dressing usually have added sugar as well. Even inconspicuous bread, rolls and crackers may be hiding sugar. Instead, avoid the mystery dips, chips and spreads, and fill up on fiber-rich, unprocessed foods like greens, cut vegetables, tomatoes and fresh fruit.
Holiday Baking and Cooking: If you're playing the role of holiday host, try reducing the amount of added sugar in your usual recipes. Salad dressings and sauces can be made with natural sweeteners, or experiment with herbs and vinegars instead. For desserts, research recipes that don't use white sugar or butter. There are many great substitutes that can help convert your recipes into meals that taste great but don't pack on the pounds.
Information provided by Limeade.