Taming the holiday sweet tooth…


By Zona Jin, Nutrition Peer Counselor

It’s the holiday season again. All the pies, candies, ice cream, cakes, etc. can increase our simple sugar intake. Recipes for most of these desserts are high in energy, sugar, fat, and sodium. It is really hard to enjoy them without being concerned for our health. Today I’ll examine some ways to enjoy all the sweets without pumping the energy and simple carbohydrate intake quite as much.

One good way to accomplish this is to downsize the portion size, such as sharing a dessert with your significant other or friends. This way you still get to taste your favorite dessert, but only consume half the sugar and calories. If you are by yourself, you can simply save the other half for later and spread the calorie intake.

Another good substitution for high simple sugar desserts is fruit! Fruit tastes sweet but, unlike cakes and cookies, is high in vitamins and fiber. Make a fruit salad instead of baking a pie! Other options to consider include subbing fruit sorbet for ice cream or make a fruit- based dessert.

If you have sweets around the house, try to store them away from sight. When you decide to have some sweets, take out only a small serving. For instance, you can scoop out a serving of ice cream instead of having the whole container in front of you. Or you can take only one piece of chocolate out of the jar, and leave rest of it in the closet. This way you more likely avoid over eating.

Sometimes there is an opportunity to adjust the sugar level. For instance, when ordering a beverage, many places offer 50% and 30% sugar option. If you are preparing your own dessert, you can decrease the amount of sugar, fat, and sodium in the recipe in proportion. When shopping for ingredients, compare the nutrition label of similar products and choose the one lowest in sugar and sodium.

It is hard to avoid dessert, especially during the holiday season. Follow some of the tips above and enjoy dessert in moderation.  Try this Gingered Winter Fruit Medley (pictured above) as a healthy, sweet alternative.

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