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Mindful eating at the holidays and other tips to avoid sugar

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Mindful eating and other tips to avoid sugar at the holidays.

Eating at the holidays is a challenge because temptations are everywhere. A Wake Forest Baptist nutritionist shares some tips that can help you avoid too much sugar in your diet that can lead to weight gain and even depression from overeating.

One of the most useful tips is to practice mindful eating. What that means is thinking about what you’re eating and how enjoyable it is. Eat your favorite cookie if you want, but try to make it just one by chewing slowly, thinking about memories of sharing your food with others in the past and focus on the food.

Make food with sugar free substitutes. According to Donna Kernodle, MPH, RD, LDN, CDE, diabetes education coordinator and registered dietitian at the Joslin Diabetes Center, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, your guests won’t notice the difference if you add sugar free gelatin, for instance, to a cranberry salad.

Practice moderation. Think ahead about what dessert you want and choose your favorite. Savor taste and choose and limit your portion.

Reach for the vegetables. You’ll get more fiber that can help you feel fuller. You’ll also get the health benefits of antioxidants.

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Go easy on the alcohol. For mixed drinks, choose a diet soda as a mixer. Women should limit alcoholic drinks to just one. Two is the recommended limit for men.

Bring your own sugar-free beverage to holiday parties. Staying well hydrated can stave off hunger. Kernodle explains we often mistake thirst for hunger.

Make sure you don’t go to holiday parties hungry. It’s easy to overeat – especially sweets. Have a snack before you go.

Staying clear of sugar can ensure you don’t overdo calories that can thwart your weight loss of weight maintenance goals. Sugary temptations at the holidays can be avoided if you prepare ahead of time. Practice mindful eating, stay hydrated, limit your alcohol intake and if you do drink, mix with diet soda. Choose fruits and vegetables first and never go to a party hungry.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
December 21, 2012

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