Saturday, October 23, 2010
SWEET Temptations abound at the end of October. Not only has Starbucks been selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes for a while and grocery stores have been selling candy for a while, but people make homemade treats for the holidays.
For most people without a health condition that precludes their eating sweets, it's OK to give in to the holiday temptations/cravings every once and a while. The sweet treats may be a comfort food that reminds you of childhood or a guilty pleasure once a year. Whatever reason you break from your normal meal plan and have a special treat, you need to be mindful not to indulge. Satisfy a craving with a small portion!
Are you aware of the proper nutrition and calorie count for your body? Have you visited http://mypyramid.gov to look at the USDA's food guidance program?
Perusing the Food Pyramid one encounters the Discretionary Foods Category. This small category includes caloric drinks, sweets, sauces and foods that contain solid fats. This category should be only a SMALL component of your healthy diet. Starting at Halloween time and through the holidays there are many temptations that cause the DISCRETIONARY CATEGORY to become a larger component in your dietary plan than it should be. How can this be avoided? Here are a few tips:
Purchase candy in single packaged in single serving pouches. Take small candies that are bite size and easily consumed in multiples like M&M's, Skittles or Candy Corn. Why not purchase them in a large bag that contains several packages of individually wrapped treats. If you must give in, have 1 package and stop there. Eat nutritious meals throughout the day to balance out the extra sugar in your diet.
Pack snacks to eat when you get tempted. One option is to pack baby carrots and/or apple slices and keep them with you. They can be eaten raw or combined, conservatively, with a dip (remember dips are discretionary foods). Apples can be given a peanut butter or caramel topping while carrots can be dipped in ranch dressing. Grapes are another snack that is bite size and can be eaten on the go.
Another option would be to create a homemade snack mix. You can purchase a combination of dried fruits, crackers like Goldfish, and nuts (almonds are a healthier options than some others). The mix can be made in a large portion then individually packaged so you control the portions you consume.
A simple rule of thumb, according to www.myperiod.gov the target for a person to keep in mind is to have no more than 10% of your daily caloric intake be from Discretionary Foods.
Make healthy choices. Don't let discretionary foods get the best of you!