I grew up near an amusement park and the roller coasters fascinated me.  I loved to ride them over and over from when I was very young.  And this park kept building ones that were higher and higher (and plunged lower and lower) each year.  

I always think of that amusement park each holiday season as my blood sugar reacts to holiday treats.  I’m a grazer and snacker and like many of you, love a good glass (or two) of wine when the season is in full swing.  Why not celebrate the holidays with lots of crackers, cookies and decadent desserts?  The sugar roller coaster, that’s why.  

I tend to enter the New Year on a low note—energy depleted and a bit blue.  I’ve come to realize that celebratory sugar has a lot to do with my overall feelings and mood.  Here are five things I plan to do this holiday season and are suggestions if you too are tired of the holiday roller coaster:

1. Blend Your Way Through the Month:  Smoothies

Smoothies aren’t just for breakfast anymore!  Drink an afternoon smoothie as a snack right before that big office party.  You won’t feel the need to graze as you mingle with your officemates. 

Here is a recipe I developed that has lots of healing foods and will keep your blood sugar stable.  

Mix all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

2. “Beef” Up the Protein

Start the day with protein and make sure you are combining it with healthy fats.  A boiled egg and avocado or a healthy smoothie (like the one above) will get you through the Santa Breakfast that will probably serve sugary donuts and coffee–which will spike your adrenaline.  Protein will keep you fuller longer and ensure you don’t crash around lunch time.

3. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks

Start a new tradition!  Instead of baking dozens of sugary cookies, make some healthy crackers and snacks to have around during the month.  There are lots of sugar-free, gluten-free and grain-free alternatives, like this one from Gluten Free on A Shoestring.  When you want to reach for something sweet, grab your homemade treat. 

4. Toast with Alternative Drinks

Don’t use the sugar excuse to change from your beloved white wine (there is at least 1 gram of sugar in every 5-ounce glass) to a mixed drink with less or no sugar.  There are plenty of mocktails and other drinks that are just as tasty and won’t leave you feeling groggy the next day.  Try any of these twenty choices from those food wizards at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.  You’ll be sure to find one you like.  

5. “Plant” Some Plants-Based Foods on Your Plate

The holiday dinner is a great way to sample all your relatives’ specialties.  Just make sure to include healthy veggies on the buffet, even if you must make them yourself.  There will always be others around who will applaud your contribution, and if not, you’ll know you’ll end the evening, and the year, feeling great!

Bev Rella studied nutrition at Nutritional Therapy Institute and currently practices Nutrition Therapy at Dragonfly 360 Yoga & Wellness.  Bev is passionate about helping clients create their healthiest lives through nutritional coaching, meal planning and healthy recipe creations.