If there is one thing we can count on during Christmas, it’s that cookies and pies will be abundant. But dodging the dessert table might not be enough to keep your sugar consumption under control. Some of the most unlikely foods can trigger the sugar cravings cycle because they’re high in hidden sugar.
No Matter How You Slice It
Think that loaf of bread looks healthy? It may actually be loaded with hidden sugar. Many commercially made breads are baked with refined sugars. Whether it’s a loaf of challah at Chanukah or a basket of rolls at the holiday brunch, skipping the bread is your safest bet.
Watch the Hors D’Oeuvres
At many holiday meals, it’s common to set out a charcuterie tray filled with nibbles before dinner. Think twice before filling up your cocktail napkin. These appetizing trays often contain sugary dried fruits and sweet spreads like apricot preserves or pepper jelly. Even the crackers could be full of sugar. If you need a little something to tide you over until the meal, stick with the meats, cheeses, and nuts (if they’re just salted, since spiced nuts are often also sweetened).
About Those Sides…
Don’t assume you’re safe from sugar just because you’re surrounded by savory dishes. You might be surprised how many of your favorite sides contain sugar! Most sweet potato souffle recipes contain at least a cup of white or brown sugar. Cornbread stuffing is another holiday favorite, but almost certainly contains plenty of sugar.
Sneaky Salad Toppings
A salad might seem like the best choice to eat alongside your holiday entree, but that isn’t always the case. Many winter salads are tossed with vinaigrettes that almost certainly have sugar in their ingredient list. And those dried cranberries that add a touch of color to your greens have 14 grams of sugar in just ¼ cup serving. That’s more than half the sugar than you should be having in an entire day!
After Dinner Drinks
The cocktail hour is a tricky time for maintaining your low-sugar commitment. Many popular mixed drinks, like a winter sangria or a Moscow mule have simple syrup (also known as sugar!) in their recipe. If you still hope to indulge in an after dinner drink, reach for a dry, red wine, which has about 1 gram of sugar in a 5-ounce glass, or ask the bartender to skip the simple syrup in your Old Fashioned.
Planning ahead is the simplest way to stick with your commitment to a low-sugar Christmas. Decide in advance the foods you’ll eat, the foods you’ll avoid, and don’t let hidden sugars find their way onto your dinner plate.