A few simple guidelines will keep your family’s health in tact, while enjoying the pleasures of the season.
Rule Number One. Never arrive to a party hungry, unless healthy food is being served. Satiate your hunger with fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious eats, so you’re less likely to overeat the high calorie sweets. If necessary, stop by your favorite market, on the way to the party, and buy a nutritious snack like a piece of fruit, some nuts, or a small salad. Consider carrying fruit and other nutritious snacks with you, so your family has a healthy alternative available. This will give your family control over their appetites, so they can pick and choose only the worthy calories.
Rule Number Two. Continue to be a label detective, and avoid desserts made with hydrogenated oils, food dye, and high fructose corn syrup. Consider these the Bermuda Triangle of ingredients. Sweets made with these ingredients simply aren’t worth the calories. Teach your family to splurge only on confections made with real ingredients like butter, cream, chocolate, and sugar.
Rule Number Three. Eat slowly! Chew well. Enjoy every morsel of that gourmet truffle or culinary delight. Allow it to linger in your mouth while you savor the flavor, the texture, and the aroma. Eating slowly allows our stomachs to tell our brain that we are full. This is another great strategy that will empower you in the tempting world of confectionaries.
Rule Number Four. Serve healthy foods at children’s parties before serving the sweets. Fill their tummies with fresh fruit salad, fresh veggies, and lean protein. Limit the sweets, and be sure the ingredients are pure.
Rule Number Five. Less is better. Believe it or not, kids are easily satisfied with a simple desert. A common holiday activity for children is decorating cookies. Start with homemade dough or buy it from a health food store. Replace the cans of icing (that contain hydrogenated oils) with beautiful sanding sugars colored with food derivatives. Kids love rolling the dough, cutting out shapes, and sprinkling with sugar. If you start with an already baked cookie, melt chocolate and let the kids paint or splatter it on the cookie. Hopefully, more chocolate will land on the cookie than on them! The children don’t need to pile on gobs of trans fat and several kinds of candy for them to enjoy cookie decorating.
It’s the same sage advice we often heard as children; eat your fruits and vegetables first! If everyone’s tummy is filled with nutritious food, then there is less room for sweets. These simple strategies will enable you to maintain your family’s high nutritional standards while enjoying the sweet bounty of the holidays. Buon Appetito!