7 Strategies to Avoid Carb Crash and Candy Coma this Holiday Season

Apples and Peanut ButterGet the enemy out of your house. No, I’m not talking about your annoying in-laws who dutifully pop in for a holiday visit or your teenage son’s foul-mouthed friend who always hangs around.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

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  1. Sandra Schultheis says:

    I am diabetic (insulin dependent) and seriously watch my carbs. I do not see a breakdown in your recipes as to fats, carbs, sodium, etc. How do I manage my carbs in the recipes. I am anxious to get started as I do well weight wise and daily insulin numbers. However, I have the typical problem area of belly fat. I weight 145, 5’6″ which is ok with my dr. Even though I am active at age 69 the belly stays the same. But I want that fat off my belly. I do eat 100% whole wheat bread and rice about 3 times a week and safe carbs like 1/2 an apple or sweet potato. Thank you for your help!

  2. Dexter Reid says:

    Hello Ms. JJ Virgin,

    I just could not go another day without telling you how effective your program was for me. After flipping T.V. channels one day and saw you on the PBS station (I live in Illinois) I did stop because of your great presentation and delivery. I had been really thinking hard about dropping some weight dur to some health issues. I wanted to tell you I stayed with the program until the very end and said “Why Not” I am a very active person 6’3” 235 lbs. I have Type II Diabetes my A1c was 7.2, with a history of Hypertension. I took to heart your plan for a month October 1, 2013. I weighed 235 lbs. and on October 31, 2013 I weighted 212 Ibs. A total of 23 lbs. my A1c is down to 6.5 which may be even lower now. I am off of one of my Diabetic medications and taking a half dose of Metformin. My Cholesterol is 111, HDL 63, Triglycerides 45, Glucose 100, BMI 28, BP 117/71. This plan has really agreed with me. your plan and stedy work in the gym (Spin Cycle classes & Pilates) has paid off big time. I am happy and my doctors are happy and I know you are happy as well, because this is another person you have provided great advice to improve quality of life. I have been telling everyone who ask who is responsible and that is you, thank you so much. Please use this testimony to help others if you wish.

    Kind regards,

    Dexter Reid

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