The holidays will be here soon, and so will all the spectacular foods and drinks that accompany the season. The festivities start during Thanksgiving and carry through the beginning of January.

It’s no surprise that many of those holiday foods are high in calories and sugars. There are many strategies that can be found online for dealing with overindulging during holiday meals. If you’re going to eat somewhere other than your own home, here are four of the most often recommended strategies for dining:

  • Make a Plan – You know what holiday eating is like, so be prepared. Plan on eating something at home before you go out so you’re not as hungry. Plan on passing up appetizers when they make the rounds at parties. And plan on taking smaller portions of food than you normally might eat.  
  • Stay Hydrated – Water helps you to feel full, but more importantly—if you’re committed to drinking water for the big meal—you’ll stay away from beverages high in calories and sugars such as wine, beer, or sodas. Add a squirt of SweetLeaf® Water Drops® to your water. They are available in six delicious fruit-flavored blends and have zero calories and no sugars. 
  • Eat Slowly – Did you know it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you’re full? That means you’ve eaten more than enough 20 minutes before you stop eating. As a result, about a half-hour after you’re finished eating, you often feel like you’ve eaten way too much. Eating slowly lets your brain catch up to your stomach! 
  • Get Some Sleep – With all the socializing that goes on during the holidays, it’s easy to stay out too late and shortchange yourself on sleep. However, studies have found that too little sleep changes metabolism and increases hunger and appetite. 

All those strategies are good if you’re eating your holiday meals at someone else’s house or at a restaurant. But if you’re the one making the holiday dinner, here’s an idea:

  • Use SweetLeaf Products Instead of Sugar – Many of the items we eat during the holidays are packed with sugars—sugars that can be reduced or eliminated by using SweetLeaf products instead.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a daily added sugar limit of no more than 9 teaspoons/36 grams/150 calories for men, 6 teaspoons/25 grams/100 calories for women and children, ages 2-19. (Children 2 years and younger should not consume any added sugars. Plus, according to the AHA, children under 5 years should avoid drinking flavored milks, toddler formulas, plant-based/non-dairy milk, caffeinated beverages, and sugar- and low-calorie sweetened beverages, which can be a big source of added sugars with no nutritional value.)  

Start adding it up, and your holiday dinner could easily contain at least four times the recommended amount of sugars. 

SweetLeaf’s Holiday Cookbook contains low- or no-sugar beverages, appetizers, sides, entrées, and desserts, along with our handy conversion chart and usage guide. 

If you were to serve a recipe from the Holiday Cookbook, how much sugar could you eliminate? Let’s choose the Easy Pumpkin Pie Dip for the appetizer, Brown Butter Sweet Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce for sides, Low-Carb Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs for the entrée, and Low-Carb Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars for dessert. Using  SweetLeaf instead of sugar would save 58 grams of sugar per serving. That’s nearly two days’ worth of sugar—and 232 calories—you and each of your guests would otherwise have eaten. 

Plus, if you make the Sugar-Free Caramel Mocha Iced Coffee from our Holiday Cookbook, rather than drink a soda with your meal, you’ll avoid an additional 39 grams of sugar, or 156 calories. Between meals and beverages, SweetLeaf has saved you from ingesting  97 grams of sugar, or 388 calories. 

If that doesn’t seem like a lot, consider that to burn just 200 calories, it takes:

  • 60 minutes of walking 

or

  • 40 minutes on a stationary bike 

or 

  • 35 minutes of dance aerobics 

or 

  • 30 minutes of jogging on a treadmill 

There is a real benefit to using plant-based SweetLeaf instead of sugars. Did you know that added sugars are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease? A diet high in added sugars has been found to cause a threefold increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, according to a 2016 article by James J. DiNicolantonio, et al., published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.

“The problem with sugar is that it contributes to inflammation of the arterial walls. It does that by generating an insulin spike, and when insulin spikes continuously it starts to ravage the fragile, but ultra-important endothelial lining of blood vessels,” states board-certified cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, author of Nutritional and Integrative Strategies in Cardiovascular Medicine. “If the endothelial lining becomes damaged, all the well-known causes of heart disease problems swarm to the scene and create the inflammatory mayhem that eventually can lead to heart attack and stroke.”

With excess added dietary sugars linked to cardiovascular risk, diabetes, and obesity, SweetLeaf offers a delicious, plant-based alternative to sugars. Using SweetLeaf in foods, beverages, and recipes helps reduce added dietary sugars and calories. 

SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops® are available in 16 flavors to both sweeten and flavor favorite drinks and foods. Water Drops enhance still or sparkling water to make daily hydration a great-tasting treat, and each packet of SweetLeaf Stevia Sweetener and SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener has the sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar. 

SweetLeaf’s award-winning family of products is available at your favorite health food stores, natural groceries, supermarkets, and online retailers.

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