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Let's Eat Christmas Treats!

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
December 24, 2022
March 6, 2023
3

Planning on eating Santa's cookies tonight? You may see that giant tray of goodies, just waiting for Santa to come. If you really want to take a bite, you can! Here's how to eat the holiday treats, and not feel guilty.

If You Are Watching Your Weight

Holiday cookies have a certain appeal at this time of year, and everyone has a slightly different recipe for crunchy ones, gooey ones, and ones with nuts. If you want to eat a cookie (or a few), of maybe if you're making them and sneak more bites than you should, here's how to enjoy them and not feel the guilt start to build.

  • It's just for today, a special day, and you deserve a special treat. What else would you eat? Carrots? 🙈
  • Tomorrow may not be a special day, so get the sweets out of the house. The temptation will gradually leave with them.
  • Resist the cravings to get you back on track for the new year. Remember that one bite means you'll awaken those sleeping taste buds. For the next couple weeks cravings for sweets will be higher.
  • Want another treat later on? Digest to eat the rest. Give your body a couple hours to digest after the last bite of food. Munch on some veggies to speed digestion along, and‍
  • Go for a walk to help speed digestion along and use some of those calories that you ate.
  • Don't bake it all at once! If you have enough dough for 50 cookies, then just make 25 for now, and freeze the extra dough, instead. If the family is going crazy for them, then you can make more, giving them piping hot, fresh cookies in a moment's notice.

What do I do on a cold winter day? I get the kids to join me in exercise competitions. We compete on the living room floor to see who can do the most sit ups? push ups? squats? Many family members sit around and count the repetitions each person does and cheers for the winner. We find that the adults gradually want to join in, too.

To Control Your Blood Sugars

Holiday treats, and most sweets in general, are highly concentrated in sugar. Just one little bite may send your glucose skyrocketing for 30-60 minutes. If you don't want to spend your holidays bolusing insulin doses and taking extra medication, then here are some tips to help dampen the sugar spikes.

  • Space Out the sweets. Did you eat carbs in the last couple hours? Are you planning to eat within the next couple hours? If the answer is yes to either of these, then wait before you grab another cookie. Open presents, sing carols, or do something else instead.
  • Think before you munch: Around the holidays these things are sometimes just lying around the house. As we pass by, we might grab a cookie or a sweet candy that was gifted to us. But try to stop those busy hands. Think before you grab a bite, and make sure you are spacing it out.
  • Have protein. When resistance is futile, and you MUST have that sweet morsel, then have some protein along with it. Your Auntie's deviled eggs will be a great pre-snack. Protein helps to slow absorption of sugars, making the glucose rise less sharp and less damaging.
  • Do some daily strengthening exercises when your festivities are planned to last for a few days. Strengthening exercises, especially, help to lower glucose for a few days afterward.
  • Walk a bit faster. If you've just eaten 5 cookies and munched while they were baking, then you may want to go for a walk or do some other cardio exercise to bring glucose down faster.

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Most importantly, the holiday treats come in many forms besides cookies. Managing weight and and blood sugar levels at Christmas can be quite difficult, with the temptation of so much extra mealtime carbs, hot cocoa, and even alcohol to choose from. You don't need to avoid them, or feel guilty about having them. It is a special day, so embrace it, be happy, and stay in control. One of the worst mindsets to set you up for giving in to cravings is about feeling guilty. Expect that glucose will go a little higher, weight may rise for a couple days.

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