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How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake on Vacations and Special Occasions

Throughout the course of a year, you’ll experience stretches of time where sugar and junk food are plentiful, like vacations and holidays. These tips can help you keep tabs on your sugar intake while still enjoying some treats in moderation during these times. These tips guide you through making the best choices out of whatever food is available to help you stay on track.

How to reduce sugar intake on vacations

When you’re on vacation, throwing temperance to the wind is easy, especially if you’re in a situation where high-sugar food is omnipresent, like a cruise ship or a festival. Cutting loose and lightening up on what you allow yourself to eat while on vacation is okay, but if you pull out all the stops and go overboard, you can do a lot of damage in a short period of time.

Vacation should be a time for you to relax, get out of your normal routine, spend some quality time with loved ones, and soak up some special life experiences. Some indulgent cuisine can be part of that, but the focus of your vacation shouldn’t be stuffing yourself with as many carbohydrates as you can find.

Keep your focus on decompressing and on enjoying great experiences, not on seeing how much you can devour from the dessert bar before you make yourself sick.

Beat sugar on holidays

Many people completely shut off any sensibility or moderation around food during holidays. When they give themselves permission to indulge in some holiday sweets, an all-or-nothing mentality takes over.

They go completely overboard, gobbling down every single sugar-filled treat they can lay their hands on — usually with the promise that at the beginning of the new year they’ll start their diet, get back to the gym, or whatever other promise they make to themselves every year. It’s almost like they’re trying to win the award for who can cram the most sugar into themselves before New Year’s.

You should enjoy some goodies during holiday times, but you need to do so in a reasonable fashion. If you’re at a holiday party with a table loaded with desserts as far as the eye can see, pick three things and have two bites of each one. That way you’ll get to enjoy three desserts without overloading yourself with sugar.

During the holidays, you don’t need to splurge at every meal of every day. The holiday season isn’t a pass to eat foolishly for weeks! Do some planning in advance and look for times when it will be easy for you to put together a healthy meal.

Be on the lookout for situations in which you’ll want to overindulge, and be judicious about which ones you allow to become major deviations from your healthy, low-sugar lifestyle. Pick your battles and make conscious, sensible decisions about when you have a treat and how much of it you eat.

During the holiday season, don’t lose sight of the big picture of a healthy nutrition plan — things like vegetables, protein, water, and portion control. Consider junk food as extra, not as a substitute for real food. Be sure to apportion your treat before you start eating so you can keep the amount of sugar you consume in check. You don’t have to eat all the cookies to enjoy them!

Sugar temptations at birthdays and other special occasions

The fact that you’re celebrating a special occasion such as a birthday or an anniversary doesn’t mean that you must eat foolishly. Don’t feel obligated to eat dessert or drink too much to get the most out of your celebration. Focus on the special people around you instead of the junk food that’s available.

Past conditioning may have led you to believe that it’s okay to eat all bad foods on special occasions. This unhealthy mind-set reinforces sugar as a reward or as a necessary part of special times.

A good strategy to help you stay sugar-free during special occasions is to distinguish between tummy hungry and yummy hungry. Tummy hungry is when you want to eat because you listen to the cues that your body gives you, and you’re actually hungry. Yummy hungry is when you want to eat because you see something that looks enticing.

Stay mindful by paying attention to what your body tells you, and don’t allow your eyes to dictate your mouth’s behavior. The next time you get a craving to eat something, pause for a moment to assess whether you’re truly tummy hungry or just piqued by a yummy hungry prospect.

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