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 In Perswaysion

We all know that person with the killer sweet tooth, who could eat cake and cookies every meal if they weren’t such a respectable human being. But, we all become that person this time of year. The easiest thing to bring to a holiday party is a tray of cookies, the easiest thing to gift is a box of chocolates and your coworkers will not stop bringing in their leftover cakes. It all looks so lonely sitting in the break room.

So what do you do to say no, and actually mean it? Here’s what the experts say.

:: Avoid the Fake Stuff

Although low in calories, artificial sweeteners do not lessen sugar cravings. In fact, it can add fuel to the fire! Try holiday inspired infused water instead of diet soda to kick the craving. Combine 8 cups water, 2 apples (sliced, Fuji works well), 4 cinnamon sticks, and 6 thin slices of fresh ginger. Refrigerate overnight.
— Danae Gross, RDN, LDN, FirstHealth Inpatient Dietitian 

:: Be a Picky Eater

Don’t waste calories on things you don’t really enjoy or you take a bite of and find don’t taste that good. Just because that’s cookie is still sitting there after a week doesn’t mean you have to eat it sister. Then when it comes to your dinners and gatherings, survey the table for your favorites and focus on those; rather than a little of everything, hone in on 3 or 4 food choices that taste REALLY good. Why have added calories eating things that are less satisfying or that you can get any day of the week?
— Melissa Herman, R.D., LDN, CD, FirstHealth Diabetes and Nutrition Education and FirstHealth Bariatric Center

:: Keep the Cocktails Light

Okay, you can’t exactly make cocktails “healthy.” But you can make them healthier by ditching the soda and sugary mixers and embracing another beverage choice for chilly nights – tea. With so many types and flavors to choose from, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. Spike it with your favorite spirit, then add a seasonal, festive garnish like a cinnamon stick or orange slice.
— Ashley Carpenter, R.D., FirstHealth Fitness

:: Bring The Healthier Option

You can be in control of how everyone eats at your gatherings. Instead of bringing a traditional apple pie to your meal, try making a spiced fruit bake to tame your sweet tooth (Tastes great made with apples, pears, and pineapple mixed together with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, and a little butter!)
— Abigail Kennedy, R.D., LDN, FirstHealth Inpatient Dietitian 

:: Practice Saying No

Devise a one-liner, such as “I have this crazy goal of not going up a dress size by New Years!” If you don’t think that will cut it, just blame someone else. Blame your doctor, your prescription, your personal trainer or your dietitian that you have to report back to. Be upfront without being offensive. It always works to compliment the hosts – how nice it all looks, their generosity and sacrifice, etc., and let them know you will be tasting the goodies a bit later (even if you never get around to it.)
— Kathleen Mason, M.S., RD, LDN, CSSD  (and yes, you can blame her), FirstHealth Diabetes and Nutrition Education

:: Sneak Veggies into Your Sweets

I think most dietitians would agree that the holidays are meant for making and enjoying festive treats with the ones you love. However, I also believe that there’s nothing wrong (and plenty of good) with making your holiday treats contain a little more nutrients than the average sweet! Since I know some of you are thinking it, no, these nutrient-dense treats are not a replacement for vegetables. But vegetable-haters beware, you might not even know there’s veggies in these delectable treats! Below are a few of my favorite recipes to get an extra boost of fiber, vitamins and minerals out of your holiday desserts.
 Kathleen Mason, M.S., R.D., LDN, CSSD, FirstHealth Diabetes and Nutrition Education

Try these recipes adapted from Health Magazine:

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Black Bean Brownies

Nut Butter Stuffed Dates

Be a Good Hostess

The bigger the plate and silverware, the more you are likely to eat, so help everyone out and set the table with smaller plates. Choosing a smaller plate has been shown to reduce food intake by about 20%. In addition, try eating from a salad fork or teaspoon; not only does it slow your pace but portions as well.  Cornell University found, individuals ate 53% more when eating with a tablespoon.
— Melissa Herman, R.D., LDN, CD, FirstHealth Diabetes and Nutrition Education and FirstHealth Bariatric Center

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