I mean sugar, which I officially declare public enemy number one.
The average person eats about 135 pounds of sugar a year. Mind you, that’s added sugar; the number goes way higher when you factor in fruit and other naturally sweet foods.
Pay a visit to your grocery or drug store candy aisle (or rather, candy aisles) and you’ll easily see how this happens. Then look around you: you don’t need studies to confirm we have a rampant obesity problem that manifests as diabetes and heart disease. Even if these problems aren’t genetic, sugar overload sets the stage for insulin resistance and all its ugly repercussions.
I’m Not Telling You to Eliminate Sugar
I won’t be the party crasher and tell you to religiously abstain from all things sweet. After all, forbid your kids from ever touching holiday candy again and you’re setting the stage for civil war.
Instead, let’s do sugar smartly. Let’s nix the wrong types and emphasize your best options. (Did you listen to my webinar about what foods you can safely indulge in and which ones need to find a home in your dumpster?)
Especially if you or your kids are addicts, tapering sugar addiction during the holiday season can become a real challenge. With a little creativity and these 7 strategies, you can do it:
- Don’t even let it in. You know the deal: it’s 11 p.m., you’ve eaten perfectly all day, and in a semi-sleep haze you realize you put your kids’ candy stash in the freezer. You promise yourself one bite and… Well, you know what happens. Don’t even allow it in the house and indulging will become far more difficult.
- Fill up on the good stuff first. Letting your kids nosedive into the jar of holiday candy on your coffee table sends their blood sugar skyrocketing and wrecks their appetites for healthier stuff. Make a rule that dinner comes first, and they’ve got to eat their green veggies before they go anywhere near their loot.
- Incorporate lateral shifts. For pretty much any favorite food, they’re a more nutrient-dense, lower sugar alternative. Kids craving mashed potatoes? Faux-tatoes – mashed cauliflower with salt and coconut milk – makes a healthy stand-in. For a sweet tooth, smear almond butter on apple slices or celery. Turn your kids on to low-sugar dark chocolate early; trust me, they’ll thank you when they’re adults.
- Eat by the clock. To maintain steady blood sugar and reduce cravings, eat every 4 – 6 hours and keep meals consistent. A late dinner means you’re frantically prepping while innocuously sipping pinot noir. Next thing you know, your hand’s in the raw almonds and you suddenly realize you devoured half the jar.
- Start your day out right. A protein shake is as fast and efficient as cereal without the sugar overload. Curb their sweet tooth and nutrient needs with creative options. Try chocolate protein powder with almond butter and unsweetened almond milk, for instance, or frozen berries with vanilla protein powder and unsweetened coconut milk.
- Try these easy protein popsicles. Blend chocolate protein powder with unsweetened almond or coconut milk, pour into popsicle molds, and freeze. Just make extras, because these go fast.
- Make homemade lemonade. Kids become bored with water, but you’re not about to let nasty soft drinks or sugary fruit juices into the house. Easy: mix fresh lemons, filtered water, and monk fruit or pure stevia and refrigerate. Satisfying and healthy no matter what the season.
Your turn: what’s your most effective strategy to curb sugar consumption during the holidays? Share your thoughts below or on my Facebook fan page.
© 2013 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness Expert JJ Virgin helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food allergies. She is the bestselling author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, a Huffington Post blogger, creator of the 4X4 Burst Training Workout & co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. Her latest book, New York Times Bestseller The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days, is out now. Learn more at www.thevirgindiet.com.
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