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by Michele Tuttle

October 27, 2020

Treating yourself to sweets is perfectly fine, within reason

The holidays are a sugar-lover’s dream. No matter where you go there’s some sweet treat that you only see this time of year calling your name and saying something like, “It’s the holidays: what can a few [insert name of sweet treat] hurt? Of course, it’s never just one, and it’s never just one day—the holidays last weeks. What to do? Ignore the treats? Impossible. Say ‘No, thank you’? Unlikely. Swim extra yards to make up for the extra calories? Possibly (and always a good idea if available).

Perhaps this year you can try some new strategies to keep your holiday treat eating to a manageable level. Here’s how to treat yourself without all the guilt.

  1. Decide what you really want and stick to it. Eat only your favorites and enjoy them. If you eat a bunch of healthy stuff you don’t really want, and then break down and binge on what you wanted in the first place, you haven’t really succeeded and probably will end up with a much higher calorie count overall.
  2. Know the calorie counts of your favorite treats or look them up before you eat them. This info may slow you down a bit and help you decide on a reasonable portion.
  3. Be mindful with alcohol—your resolve and intentions will go out the window after that second drink. Try having sparkling seltzer water before you drink, choosing a light beer, or having a zero-calorie mixer with your spirits to keep the caloric impact to a minimum.
  4. Go for small: small plate, small glass, small portions. Smaller means fewer calories and less guilt.
  5. Walk, swim, and stand more. It can take up to 30 minutes of swimming to burn off one 200-calorie treat. So, move more and be choosy about what you eat.
  6. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep makes you crave more sugar.
  7. Choose or make sweet treats with hidden fiber or nutrients or fewer calories. Here are some possibilities:
  • Carmel popcorn (3/4 cup = 108 calories)
  • Oatmeal cookies with cranberries or raisins (2-inch cookie = 150 calories)
  • Spiced walnuts or pecans (1/4 cup = 241 calories)
  • Macaroons (2-inch cookie = 104 calories)
  • Gingerbread cookie (2-inch cookie = 134 calories)
  • Biscotti (4-inch stick = 110 calories)


  • Health and Nutrition


  • Health
  • Nutrition