Many dread this time of year. Opportunities to overeat abound. How many invitations have you had for food related gatherings and those crazy cookie exchanges this month already? Do you find yourself flipping a palm in protest, saying, ‘Ho Ho Ho-Hold the pie!’?
Some have labeled sugar as poison, blaming it on everything from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Others wouldn’t let an artificial sweetener near their lips. Even at gunpoint. There are benefits and potential risks with both refined sugars and artificial sugars. If you feel led to avoid one or the other, keep in mind that it all comes down to quantity.
Consuming the real thing-refined sugar and its various forms-might satisfy your craving and keep you from overeating later, while artificial sweeteners are thought to send a false message to the brain that sugar is in its way. But when it doesn’t show up, it could lead you to subconsciously consume too much of the real thing later.
So, what to do when party time rolls around and you feel as though you’ve been teleported into the Nutcracker’s Land of Sweets?
1) Before the party: Always eat a little complex carb and protein snack ahead of time to stave off the urge to overeat.
~Half a banana and a cheese stick
~A spoonful of peanut butter on whole wheat bread
~A nutrient dense granola or protein bar
2) At the party: Can’t decide which sweet/dessert you want? Psst. You’re not limited to only one, so sample several of your favorites, then walk…no, march… away from the table. Hang out with other guests. Make a point to meet someone new or get to know someone familiar even better.
3) And, news flash! Your body needs water in winter, too, so keep hydrated throughout the year. This will fill your stomach, aid in digestion and meet an essential nutrient need.
No matter how you choose to navigate the difficult waters of the holidays, I urge you to “Taste and see that the Lord is good…” (Psalm 34:8a) Because what’ll make this Christmas season the sweetest of all is realizing Jesus’ birth was for you. God came down. Emmanuel. God with us (Matthew 1:23)
To Market With Mary
Mary’s Modified Hot Chocolate*
I’ve finally perfected this recipe. The original “Favorite Hot Cocoa” recipe comes from the Hershey’s cocoa powder label. So, when the temp gets too cold for your taste (for me, that’d be anything below 75 degrees), try this lighter alternative to hot chocolate and see what you think.
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/4 cup artificial sweetener of choice (I used a blend of Splenda and Stevia)
Dash of salt
Dash of cinnamon, if desired.
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 – 2 cups unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk**
In a small saucepan, stir cocoa and sugar (artificial or the real thing), salt and cinnamon until well mixed. Stir vanilla into almond milk. Then stir almond milk into cocoa/sugar mixture, adding half cup at a time and stirring well after each addition. Heat through. Pour into favorite Christmas mug. For fun, keep contents mixed as you sip by stirring with a festive candy cane. Serves one (unless, of course, you’re the unselfish type and choose to split the cocoa between two mugs. I don’t share mine 😦
FB Mary Albers Felkins