The holiday season is upon us and we are constantly being bombarded with deliciously addictive sugary foods. How can you say "no" to Grandma’s custard pie or your mom’s cinnamon rolls? Your auntie’s world-famous candied yams? What if your coworkers leave a beautiful tray of festive Christmas cookies in the break room and nobody sees you eat one? Does it really count? Yes!
How much sugar is too much? Less than you may think! There are two kinds of sugar: natural and added. Natural sugar is found in fruit, vegetables and milk products. Added sugars are sugars put in foods during preparation or processing, or added at the table. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests limiting added sugar to less than 10% of calorie intake. If you eat 2,000 calories per day, your goal is to eat less than 200 calories (50 grams or 12 teaspoons) of added sugar The American Heart Association is even stricter: It recommends women consume no more than 100 calories (6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day; men, no more than 150 calories (9 teaspoons) per day.
Notice how we keep talking about added sugar. That's what you really want to cut out. Limit the sugar you add to your morning cup of coffee or tea, bake into pastries, cakes and cookies, and sugar that you sprinkle all over your breakfast cereal or your oatmeal for added flavor. You are also eating sugar that’s hidden in some beloved "treats" that people consume on a daily basis, such as sodas, fruit juices, candies and ice cream. It also lurks in almost all processed foods, including breads, meats, and even your favorite condiments like teriyaki sauce, salad dressing and ketchup. Today, the average American consumes almost 152 lbs of sugar in one year. This is equal to 3 lbs (6 cups or 288 teaspoons) of sugar consumed in one week! That's a lot of sugar. Soda and energy drinks are the largest food group sources of added sugars.
Compare food labels and choose foods with the lowest amount of added sugars.
Instead of: soda or fountain drinks (Slurpees, Icees, etc.)
Try: 100% fruit juice mixed with seltzer, flavored seltzers, plain seltzers, diet sodas, Crystal Light, plain iced teas, coffee, or water.
Instead of: candy
Try: Fresh fruit, dried fruit, raw veggies (carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, etc.), or dark chocolate.
Instead of: Cakes and pies
Try: A piece of fruit, fruit salads, or baked apples
Instead of: cookies
Try: Graham crackers, animal crackers, vanilla wafers, or a crunchy fruit (ie. an apple or a pear).
Instead of: Ice cream
Try: Frozen juice pops (100% juice), chunks of frozen fruit, small serving of low-calorie ice cream topped with sliced berries, or a cold smoothie made with yogurt and frozen berries.
Instead of: Sugared cereals
Try: Unsweetened cereals with sliced berries or shredded apples.
While many of us have fond memories of holiday meals, there is so much more to celebrate during the holiday season than foods and drinks. Make your holidays a little happier by ensuring that your health is a priority.
For more information contact Sherrie at firstname.lastname@example.org.