Ask The Expert: How To Tame The Holiday Sweet Tooth

A local nutritionist says it's all in your head.

Christmas cookies image via shutterstock

Christmas cookies image via shutterstock

The holidays are full of sweet things. Traditional holiday cookies, candy canes, and Grandma’s classic bunt cake. So how can you enjoy your share of holiday sweets without going too over the top? We asked nutritionist Julie Starr-Wood for her helpful advice on how to curb your sweet tooth this holiday season.

What is your best advice about avoiding too many holiday sweets? 

I always tell my clients that there are a lot of things you can do counteract these cravings, but the best thing you can do is find another way of looking at sweets. Instead of thinking “I’m just not going to eat them,” try a few of these ideas to help you think differently about your holiday meals:

Go in with a plan. If you know you’re going to your mom’s and you know that she makes these four great things, plan if you’re going to have a bite of all four or have a bite of one. If you’re going to have all of them, add some movement into your day by planning non-food related activities with your family members and friends, even just a walk.

Stay hydrated by drinking a ton of water throughout the day, and add lemon to it. It’s an easy way to remind yourself that you want to stay healthy. There are certain foods that people eat that make them feel virtuous, and it reminds them that they want to eat healthy. It could be lemon in your water, or kale, parsley, salad, salmon, anything. Find something virtuous like that and bring it with you to mom’s to keep you in that healthy mindset when you’re not in full control of what you’re eating.

Eat and larger breakfast and lunch. Eat a balanced breakfast and a balanced lunch—something with fiber and protein. It’ll keep your blood sugar stabilized throughout the day and keep you from eating too much dessert.

Don’t try to stay away from sweets if you really want them. Make quick decisions about them instead. If you sit and think about eating them for too long, you’ll start to justify why you should be able to have it—you went on a jog yesterday or you had a bad day—which will inevitably end with you eating it anyway. If you want the chocolate, get yourself a quality piece of dark chocolate because that’s better for you. Don’t go for the Star Market Christmas cookies that are the same bad quality as their regular cookies only with red and green sprinkles on top. Look for quality stuff, with real ingredients. They will be more flavorful and make you feel more full and satisfied.

Don’t drink your face off. With every glass of alcohol you drink, drink a glass of water. The less alcohol the better, obviously, but the ones you really want to avoid altogether are the sugary drinks. Alcohol is also a depressant so you won’t feel inclined to eat healthy or move if you drink all night.