Each year it seems the moment our Halloween stash diminishes, candy canes and holiday treats begin sneaking into our kitchen. First they come home in backpacks via holiday birthdays and Reindeer Day at school, then for most of December friends or relatives cannot help but tote a bag of chocolates to your home for play dates and coffee chats.

 

And while, like most women I know, I am salivating at thoughts of gooey caramel dunked in dark chocolate, I also wince at the increased sugar we inhale this time of year. Halloween is just the beginning of a cascading slide of treats that celebrate everything from Thanksgiving to Chanukah, Christmas to New Year’s Eve, Boxing Day and Kwanzaa too. By January 1 I feel as though I’ve visited the Niagara Falls of sweet delights.

 

So, how does a family keep an eye on the sugar and the saturated environment of sweets during this impossibly delicious season? Here are three helpful tips:

 

1. Celebrate Well: Make a decision to let go of your worries and concerns on occasion or you will drive yourself toward isolation or added stress. Anxiety over food and snacks adds unnecessary and unhealthy strain to your life. Make a decision to free yourself from guilt by choosing a few occasions where you free yourself and your children to indulge, guilt-free. Rather than snapping at your kids over extra treats, just sit back and enjoy the moment knowing you’ve set that one day aside for just this sort of fun.

 

2. Adapt When You Can: When you arrive at a party or host one, consider serving foods that are friendlier to the planet and your body whenever possible. Organic and local wines or beer, locally grown produce, fair-trade coffee, chocolates and teas make lovely additions to everything from gift-baskets to the holiday table. Focus on desserts that are less processed. Chocolate dipped berries are a superior choice to store-purchased candies that are often dyed and filled with additives.

 

3. Make Up For Lost Time: During December I become more neurotic than usual when it comes to what we eat for our regular meals. Because daily meals get bumped by holiday fun I do my best to pile up the vegetables even higher this month. Encourage the healthiest eating possible in the down times. This way, you can more easily release the stress and chaos of an over-sugared moment.