The Blog

Don't Stress over Holiday Desserts

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

I receive insightful questions on my social media accounts, and since one question helps many, I'd like to share some with you along with my answers. ~Margaret Marshall


Thank you for sending me this question, Sherrie. Many people are health conscious and opt to continue their efforts throughout the holiday season. This time of year eating challenges are numerous, get-togethers happen often, and calorie-laden desserts become plentiful.

During the holiday season desserts are everywhere. You'll find them at each party, in your office, and even in your own home. People give you cakes, pastries, and candy as holiday gifts. If you start to eat desserts mindlessly, you'll find sugar cravings increase, and controlling your desserts becomes stressful. You could consume an average of 400 to 800 calories for one slice of your favorite dessert. Not eating dessert at every event will help you stay in control of sweets, strengthen your resolve, and remind you of your goal to stay health-conscious.

Keep left-over desserts out of your house. You may feel strong when you pack them away after a party or holiday, but weak moments happen, and old habits return in weak moments. Send excess desserts home with guests or contribute them to a local soup kitchen, but get them out of your house. After the celebration, they have outlived their usefulness.

Often people reach for sugary food when they begin to feel fatigued. Be sure to include protein at each meal and snack. Eating protein will give you the energy needed for your daily tasks, and you'll be less likely to eat an available sugary item, for a quick jolt of energy.

At parties, guests do like to have a fruit salad and appreciate having one available, but making it your only choice becomes boring. It can make you feel deprived and you may find yourself abandoning your healthy efforts. Deserting your efforts is more harmful than having dessert. Nobody is overweight or unhealthy because they ate a piece of cake, but because they ate the cake.

Your question still remains, Sherrie, "What would you recommend as a dessert to serve or bring other than a fruit salad for the health conscious?"

I can tell you what I do:

  • When I choose, I eat a piece of dessert that I desire.
  • I never take any dessert home from a party to eat later.
  • If asked to bring a dessert, I may bring one that does not entice me.
  • I serve miniature pastries or cookies. Having anything in a small serving is always more health conscious.
  • I eat a cannoli if available. They tend to be lower in calories.
  • When I truly do not want any dessert, I put my coffee cup on my dessert plate. It sends a silent message to others that I am not having dessert, and satisfies me because my dessert plate is not the only empty one at the party.

Ask others what they do, Sherrie. Continually practice the technique that works best for you. There will never be a food item that is worth jeopardizing your health, and there will never be a food item you can't enjoy in moderation!

Send me your questions too!

Margaret Marshall is The Healthy Living Expert. She is the creator of the "Five-Finger Food Guide", and the author of "Body, Mind, & Mouth" and, "Healthy Living Means Living Healthy".
She is a media personality, and an international speaker presenting wellness programs at corporate functions, higher learning institutions, women's organizations, medical facilities, and cruise ships.