While it is fun to take a break from our normal healthy eating routines and splurge on holiday delicacies like candy canes, chocolate Hanukkah gelt, and Christmas cookies, indulging in these delicious confections can put our metabolism on a roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. And to make matters worse, all those good habits you have about drinking water will likely fall by the wayside as you deviate from your normal routines. Combining a temporary case of hyperglycemia with dehydration makes it a lot harder to be polite when your mother-in-law criticizes you career choices or Aunt Louise gives you another hand-made sweater adorned with bells and antlers.
But there are ways to enjoy seasonal treats, yet still pay attention to healthy blood sugar and hydration levels. Think ahead about how to get enough water at the events you will attend. On Thanksgiving Day, my husband, Allen, planned to drink several glasses of water when we first arrived at his brother’s house. He kept his water guzzling going during the meal, too. This little shift in focus made a huge difference for him. He didn’t over-gorge on turkey and his mother’s Pennsylvania Dutch potato stuffing. He was easily able to pass by (most of) the long table of cakes, cookies, and pies lying in wait at the far end of the dining room. For the first time in years, we left this beautiful holiday feast without feeling ready to burst.
When you do succumb to holiday enticements, try to combine high glycemic foods with lower glycemic foods (in other words match sweets with protein-rich foods like nuts or cheese). Perhaps this is why cookies and milk are such a classic combo. Eating a small dessert after a meal will not throw you off kilter as much as eating sugary snacks by themselves.
If you pay attention to “micro-managing” your metabolism, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite holiday foods without your emotions knocking you around like a ping-pong ball. You’re on your own with Aunt Louise, though…
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