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Welcome to Sweet Treat Season!

Happy Halloween!

We hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween adventure this evening, whether it is taking the kids or grandkids trick-or-treating, or staying home and passing out treats and hopefully being entertained by some creative costumes!

Of course, there is no shortage of sugar being handed out on Halloween, and that is just the start!



Today is the unofficial kickoff to the most sugar-filled season of the year!

The next several weeks will be filled with parties and a frenzy of holiday eating that includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Are you ready?

The good news is that it IS possible to enjoy the holidays without sacrificing your health!

Sugar is everywhere!

You may remember an article we shared a few years ago written by Yoni Freedhoff, a Canadian doctor, who discusses how overconsumption of sugar has become a completely normal part of our culture.  Let's face it, especially this time of year, the world feels like one giant candy store!

The article discusses how a family tried to track how much sugar was being "pushed" on their kids over the course of a year.  The numbers were staggering - they estimated these offerings totaled 4,600 added teaspoons - or about 97 cups - of sugar!  That doesn't even include the added sugar consumed in the normal course of the day.

And, let's be honest, it's not just kids.  Think about how much sugar you are surrounded by every day, and especially during the holiday season.  The office, the parties, the parties (did we mention the parties?), school events, family get-togethers, and even church!

Remember from our coaching tip on sugar, you should only be consuming 6 to 9 tsp of added sugar each day.  And too much sugar leads to many health issues such as excess weight, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, various cancers and other illnesses.  On a day like today, many are likely to blow past that number and then some.  But consistency is the key.  It is ok to celebrate occasionally, and then get back into your REAL FOOD routine that is leading you towards good health.


So, what can we do to enjoy the holidays healthfully?


For Halloween...


  • Make sure to set a good example!  Remember, the kids are always watching.
  • Enjoy SOME of it!  Tonight and tomorrow, have a pre-agreed amount of candy to enjoy…then, call it quits!
  • Sort them out!  Have your kids sort out their favorites to keep and enjoy in the weeks after Halloween (maybe 1 or 2 pieces per day).  You can limit the TOTAL amount to what will fit into a sandwich size Ziploc bag.  This will help them learn to be selective about their indulgences.
  • Candy Fairy - kids can put a few pieces of candy under their pillow at night in return for a surprise in the morning, which could be money or a small toy.
  • Get cash!  As many of us have seen on Jimmy Kimmel, taking candy away from your kids, or telling them you ate it all, can have pretty traumatic effects!  What about turning candy into cash?  That is a much better idea!  Some local dentists or other organizations will pay kids cash for their candy.  Sometimes the candy then gets donated to the military or other organizations.  We are not huge fans of "pushing sugar" on the troops or others, but we get the idea.  If you can't find someone offering this locally, you could make this offer yourself, and you could even box up the candy, write a nice note, and donate it.
  • Reverse trick or treat – let your kids dress up in their costumes and take their candy to a local nursing home and share with others.


What about the upcoming holiday eating frenzy?


  • Manage your sweet treat cravings!  Read this coaching tip to prevent regrets and waking up the next day and saying, "I wish I hadn't eaten all those sweets."
  • Be a good host!   If you are hosting a holiday party or get-together, read this coaching tip about how to create great memories for your guests, get them raving about the food, and also do you part to help keep everyone healthy!
  • And be a good guest!  If you are attending a party or get-together, take delicious healthier food options.  Consider veggie trays, salads (the Christmas Quinoa Salad is always a hit), or dips such as hummus (Roasted Beet Hummus is vibrant and ideal for the holidays -- your friends and family will love it!).
  • Family meeting!  Talk with your family about the importance of enjoying the holidays without going overboard.  If you talk to them about eating just one dessert at the upcoming party, do this a day or two before the event so they can be thinking about what choices they are going to make.
  • Make the healthy choice the easy choice!  If everyone has a tendency to "graze" near the food, fill the table with a veggie tray and healthy dips.  Or maybe a variety of interesting and delicious salads.  You could even put together a beautiful charcuterie board or a healthy butter board.  This is so much better than everyone mindlessly eating cookies, brownies, and other highly processed foods.  And in your home, make the sweet treats more difficult to get to (like the back of a cabinet or an outside refrigerator).  Remember, out of sight, out of mind!  And make the healthy choices the easiest ones.
  • Protect your sleep!  Remember that poor sleep suppresses the levels of the hormone (leptin) that signals that you are full.  At the same time, it increases levels of the "hunger hormone" (ghrelin).  So a poor night's sleep basically means that you are more likely to be reaching for the sugary and high-calorie foods the next day instead of indulging in the healthier alternatives.
  • Don't ditch the exercise!  Not only will exercise help you offset any added calories during this helps decrease stressimprove sleep and enhance mental health, which we all need an extra dose of during the holidays!
  • Mind your alcohol!  A drink or two once in a while can be a great part of sharing stories and spending time with family and friends, not to mention perfectly complementing a delicious REAL food meal!  But remember alcohol is a toxin in your body, so be very mindful about your consumption.


For even more tips, read our Holiday Survival Plan!

And watch the weekly meal ideas…we will continue to provide ideas on how to incorporate great-tasting REAL food into your holiday meals, sides and sweet treats.

What are your best tips for keeping the holidays healthy?





Leave A Comment

8 Responses to Welcome to Sweet Treat Season!

  1. Lots of good tips, Krista! I’m seeing a new internist who refers to sugar as ‘poison!’ That really brings it home in a serious way. She has me watching Dr Lustig on YouTube, especially his video The Real Truth About Sugar that has all kinds of science and chemistry to back up his claims. One of the things he says is that sugar is not a food, but a food additive with no nutritional value. It’s best to consume any glucose with fiber, like an orange or an apple.
    BTW, I am 75 years old and take no prescription meds of any kind. I give all the credit for that to your delicious recipes here at Eat Real America and what I’ve learned from both of you, Krista and Zonya! Thank you so much for improving our health and our lives!

    • Bev – Thank you for sharing this, we will have to check out more videos from Dr. Lustig! It truly is amazing what REAL food can do for your health and your life! Your success is what keeps us motivated and inspired – we are so grateful for you!

  2. Beverly, I loved seeing your post! I am so impressed that you take no prescription meds! That’s something I aspire to, and have been making progress in that direction, thanks to Zonya and Krista. I stumbled on Dr. Lustig’s YouTube video a year or more ago, and then bought and read his book “Metabolical”. More recently, I’ve been looking for holiday (Thanksgivng/Christmas) dessert recipes that are low in added sugar – preferably around 6-8g per serving, which helps me keep my daily total under the 24g of added sugar as AHA recommends. Recently, I found a former Pastry Chef, who wrote a self-published e-book called “A Date With Dessert” which is no longer available, but she is including those recipes in a book called “Sweet Indulgence”

    • Thank you, Sappho! I’ll look for the books you’ve mentioned.This is really a journey we’re on, isn’t it? But it’s so inspiring when the lab bloodwork results are terrific. The holiday season remains our biggest stumbling block, I have to admit. But like Zonya has said: Doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. Have to form some new and healthier ‘traditions.’

  3. Krista – these are GREAT suggestions and reminders!! Thank you for posting them in time for us to use them starting today, and through the holidays. I suspect you’ve saved many of us from gaining a few pounds!!

  4. Last week on the Lazy Genius podcast, Kendra read a genius tip about Halloween candy that a mom submitted. Sometime in September or October the mom buys a piñata. After Halloween she lets her kids have a few pieces of candy and then fills the piñata to enjoy on a wintery day. Genius.

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