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Do You Know How to Trim Sugar During the Holiday Season?

The holidays are nearly here. Many of us are eating our way into the new year. According to the American Heart Association, American adults consume 77 grams of sugar per day and kids consume 81 grams per day. One teaspoon of sugar is about 5 grams, so this adds up to 15 to 16 teaspoons of sugar daily.

This is three times the recommended sugar intake and can add up to 60 pounds of added sugar a year. The holidays can be a tough sugary season to battle with festive cookies, pies, pastries, eggnog, hot chocolate and candies.

Try the following tips to reduce your sugar consumption this holiday season:

  • Avoid sugary holiday drinks. Sip on hot tea instead of eggnog or hot chocolate. Tea can come in a variety of festive flavors such as cinnamon, orange spice, chai and peppermint. Add a splash of creamer if desired. Skipping these holiday drinks can save you up to 225 calories. One cup of eggnog can have 20 grams of sugar. Hot chocolate contains 25 grams of sugar.
  • Choose fresh fruit. Many recipe variations are available to make fruit fun. Try a fruit salad, dip, kabobs or parfait cup. Kiwi, oranges, persimmon, mandarin oranges, apples, pears and grapefruit are some fruits that are in season in the U.S. during December. Many of these are delicious with a yogurt-based dip or make a great winter fruit salad.
  • Bring a treat such as one of the festive appetizer trays included in this issue to every holiday party. Trying to eat less sugar during the holidays may not on everyone’s to-do list. Bring your holiday treat to ensure you have a less-sugary option.
  • Eat before you go to the party. Sugary foods can be devoured easily when you are hungry. Make sure to eat a balanced meal before heading to holiday gatherings. If this isn’t an option for you, try snacking on the meat, cheese or veggie tray before stopping by the cookie tray.
  • Drink plenty of water. The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics examined the dietary benefits of consuming plain water. They found that drinking more plain water was associated with a reduced average intake of total daily energy, energy intake from sugar-sweetened beverages and energy intake from discretionary foods.

By Amanda Perot, NDSU Extension Program Assistant

Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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