This time of year is especially hard to completely avoid processed sugars. It's the season of baking and desserts! It's also, sadly, the time many people "throw in the towel" and wait until the New Year to watch what they eat. Don't do it!!!
It's also the season where everyone seems to always be sick. It probably has something to do with the fact that within 15 minutes of eating refined sugar, the immune system drops 90% of functioning. The average person gains anywhere from 5-10lbs just over the holidays and a lot of that has to do with the high calorie and hidden fats desserts.
But you don't have to give up everything...that just isn't realistic for a lot of people. Take little steps. For example, you can replace white flour with wheat flour in almost everything. I've tried it with all cookies and things like banana bread and no one notices. You can sweeten things with honey instead of white, refined sugar. (Just make sure to add a little more honey than what the recipe says for sugar). Have a no free sweets rule. Meaning if there is a plate of chocolate chips sitting out, don't eat it. It's easy to go to the plate to eat one, and leave having had four or five. If you really can't stand it, then go BUY one cookie somewhere. And realisticially, it'll help you not give into every craving because driving all the way to get one cookie isn't going to happen much. ;)
Enjoy only social sweets. Eating that piece of pie or bowl of ice cream tastes better in a group than solo. It also helps with portion control because most people will not eat as much as if they were eating it by themselves.
What about when you are at home and are craving that sweet something after a meal? Start a tea tradition. This helped me so much. There are so many dessert teas out there. Drink a cup after every meal. I love the chocolate spice teas. My current favorite is the Good Earth brand cinnamon tea. Mmmmm. I'm still wanting to try ones like mint chocolate chip, pumpkin pie, and apple cobbler.
Incorporating these few tips will help you to still enjoy the festive holiday season while not pigging out on the sweets and packing on the pounds.