5 Tips to avoid excess sugar during the festive season

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Christmas celebrations are just around the corner and with it comes the binge eating, the nougat, the champagne and the excess sugar.  In addition, in recent years the Christmas season has been lasting longer and longer and both on TV and in supermarkets we are exposed to a constant bombardment of deliciously addictive, high-sugar foods and drinks.

At this time of year it becomes even more difficult to maintain a balanced diet and avoid excess sugar – how can you say no to grandma’s delicious, love-filled cake? What if your friend leaves a beautiful tray of biscuits and nougat on the table when you go to visit her? All the delicacies that surround us at this time of year are tempting and you ask yourself “Why not give in during the Christmas season? I can go back to healthy eating after kings can’t I?”

5 Tips to avoid excess sugar over Christmas

1. Set specific goals for the holidays. You will have more motivation to make healthy choices if you have a commitment to yourself. Take some time to think about and write down your specific goals for each of the dates. For example, “During Christmas dinner I will only allow myself to have a piece of cake and a glass of sweet wine”.  Make sure your goals to avoid over-consuming sugar are realistic and fit your lifestyle. Before the celebration, tell others in your family or friends about your goals so they can support you.

2. Allow yourself small concessions. Don’t deny yourself holiday treats or that dish your aunt only makes once a year. Setting goals that are too strict may make it difficult to stick to them throughout the season. Decide in advance what temptations you will indulge in. Ideally, set a “sweets budget” beforehand so that you don’t indulge in too much sugar.

3. Avoid sugary drinks. Drinks such as soft drinks, wine and cocktails have large amounts of sugar so it’s easy to overindulge, especially if you’re thirsty. Try drinking a large glass of water before rewarding yourself with a soda or a drink. As well as helping you consume less sugar, your body will thank you the next day.

4. Don’t do it alone! It’s easy to feel lonely when trying to eat healthy during the holidays. Convince your partner, a friend or family member and set goals together. You’ll find it’s much easier to eat healthily at celebrations if you have a support network that’s aware of sugar excess.

5. Take care of yourself as a whole, not just your diet. Watching our food is important but we should not forget to take care of our whole body and our mental health as taking self-care actions and feeling good psychologically can help us a lot in being consistent in maintaining a healthy diet. For example, this holiday season, you can go for a walk after every heavy meal and schedule time to be with yourself and relax by taking a bath or doing meditation exercises.

What about too much sugar in the body?

Taking in too much sugar, especially if you do it continuously, is a problem. This can have long-term consequences on our metabolism, increasing the likelihood of becoming insulin resistant. And gradually decreasing the ability to process healthier foods such as fruit, vegetables or wholegrain foods.

However, we know it’s not easy to stick to healthy eating goals, especially during the holidays. That’s why we’ve outlined realistic tips to help you enjoy your holiday celebrations while avoiding excess sugar.

In the end, the most important thing to remember is that no one is perfect and all any of us can do is do our best. It’s not about judging ourselves (or anyone else), or mentally punishing ourselves if we slip up and eat one too many pieces of nougat. It’s about practising making healthy choices as often as possible. With practice, it will become easier and easier to control excess sugar and easier to have a diet dominated by healthy foods.