With lights being strung up around the neighborhood and shopping centers playing familiar jingles, there is little question as to what season is right around the corner! This time of year, it is not uncommon to indulge more than usual with cookies, cakes, and eggnog galore. Take the time this holiday season to create a success strategy to navigate holiday goodies and keep your health on track.
Remember the quote “everything in moderation”? This is the perfect way to think about all those holiday treats and drinks. Did you know that the American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar intake per day to no more than 9 teaspoons or 36 grams (g) for men and 6 teaspoons or 26 g for women? Common sources of sugar during the holiday are:
- One slice of pumpkin pie (25 g)
- 8 oz cup of eggnog (20 g)
- ½ cup sweet potato casserole (14 g)
- One Panera mitten cookie (32 g)
Are you the head-baker for this holiday season? Try these sweet swaps to kick up the nutrition and spice up the flavor.
- Use miniature chocolate chip cookies and reduce the amount by half. This still brings the gooey chocolatey texture and flavor with half the sugar, calories, and fat!
- Use fruit puree like applesauce, pumpkin, or mashed ripe banana to replace half the oil in baked goods like cakes, quick breads and pancakes.
- Use a 1 cup to ¾ cup ratio to replace oil with yogurt in quick breads, cakes, and pancakes. If you are using Greek yogurt, thin it out the yogurt with a little water.
- Swap 1 can pureed black beans for 1 cup of flour in your brownie mix. This boosts the protein and fiber content while producing a delicious fudgy brownie.
- Last but not least, simply cut back on sugar. Did you know you can cut the sugar in a recipe by at least 25% without a noticeable difference?
All these great tips and baking swaps will help you to keep your waistline in check, your athletic performance on point, and your holiday full of energy and fun! In the end, a good holiday nutrition plan is not about completely avoiding specific foods, it is about focusing on filling your diet with wholesome produce, lean meats, and whole grains first and sprinkling some treats on later if you still have room. Enjoy this season with vibrant nutrition to fuel your holiday play!