When the weather turns chilly, I crave a hot cup of coco and warm oatmeal cookies.
And my career as a dietitian kind of ruins the fun of having coco and cookies.
Because I'm a dietitian, I know that a cup of coco has 23 grams of sugar.
Because I'm a dietitian, I also know my family's sugar limits:
I think these numbers are especially important for kids.
So do I still have coco and cookies?
Yes of course!
But in the day to day, I tend to look for healthier options.
Extra sugar causes cavities, weight gain and puts stress on your body.
This is especially true around the holidays when it seems that candy and treats are EVERYWHERE!
Here are 5 low sugar swaps I make around the holidays:
#1 Vanilla Milk instead of hot coco
Vanilla milk has 0 grams of added sugar
Coco has 23 grams of added sugar
I've been serving my kids Vanilla milk instead of hot coco since they were toddlers. So it's the norm at our house. If you've got little ones, get them hooked on vanilla milk instead of hot coco.
#2 Banana oat cookies instead of little debbie oatmeal cookies
Banana Oatmeal Cookies = 7 grams added sugar for 3 cookies
Little debbie oatmeal cream pie = 27grams sugar
I've been making these cookies since my kids were toddlers. Becuase I've made them regularly since they were very young, they love them. Usually they will eat a whole batch in one day.
If you give these to an older kid who's only had regular cookies, she probably won't like them. But if you are reading this blog, you have kids younger than 3! So get your kids hooked on these healthy cookies today!
#3 Apple Sauce instead of Maple Syrup
1 Tabelspoon Maple Syrup = 13 grams added sugar! (this is 1/2 of your day's limit)
1/2 cup unsweetened Applesauce = 0 grams added sugar
I love to make a good hot breakfast on cold winter mornings. When my kids were younger, I never bought syrup. Maple syrup is essentially like pouring sugar onto your pancakes.
Instead, I always had my kids put unsweetened applesauce on their pancakes. I would warm it up in a pot with cinnamon and nutmeg for added flavor.
Now that they are older and have been exposed to maple syrup, I will buy it. But we still usually have low sugar fruit preserves, apple butter or frozen berries on pancakes.
If you are reading this blog, you have kids younger than 3! Get them hooked on applesauce on top of their pancakes instead of sugar syrup!
#4 Reduce the sugar in your baked goods
Everytime you reduce sugar in a recipe, you reduce the number of grams you will eat! Most recipes can be reduced by 1/4 cup. If you start to eat sugar less often, you will not need as much to feel satisfied.
I often reduce the amount of sugar called for by 1/2 and still end up with a good cookie.
If a recipe for a dozen cookies calls for 1 cup of sugar, each cookie will have 8 grams of sugar. If you only use 1/2 cup of sugar, each cookie will have 4 grams of sugar.
That really adds up if you eat more than one cookie!
Experiment with your cookie recipes. Start by reducing the sugar by 1/4, then slowly work your way up.
#5 Avoid Sugar Sweetened Beverages
water = 0 grams added sugar (plus it's free)
1 cup egg nog = 20 grams added sugar
1 can sprite = 33 grams added sugar
The #1 easiest way to avoid extra sugar is to avoid sugar sweetened drinks. Things like egg nog and cranberry holiday 7up are fun, but they should be saved for the occasional treat.
Make a habit of drinking water throughout the day and help your kids get in this habit as well.
If you love egg nog or other holiday drinks, save them for a special occasion, and limit your intake to 1 cup!