4 Tips for Taming Your Sweet Tooth During the Holidays



If you’ve worked hard to reduce added sugars in your eating plan, the looming holiday sugar fest can send shivers down your spine.  It’s not visions of sugar plums causing concern; it’s the fear of turning into the blueberry girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!

So, here are a few tricks you can use this holiday season to prevent unleashing your sugar beast.

  1. Stay true to your health intentions – you’ve worked really hard to break your sugar addiction. So, start your holidays like any other day:
    1. eat breakfast
    2. anchor all your meals and snacks with clean protein, healthy fat and unprocessed carbs
    3. get in a good workout daily, preferably outdoors – even if it’s only 15 minutes
    4. determine a daily added sugar goal and stick with it. You may consider adding 5 – 10 extra grams of sugar on a few days to allow yourself to enjoy one or two special holiday treats.
  2. Instead of baking holiday cookies, consider starting a new tradition of gifts from the kitchen:
    1. Holiday spice ornament balls
    2. Holiday tea blends
    3. Make holiday food art
  3. Be very selective with how you spend your daily sugar grams. Save them for really special, homemade holiday treats instead of store bought processed sweets.
  4. Count holiday beverages as a dessert. This includes: egg nog, holiday wine coolers, sangrias, pumpkin lattes, craft seasonal beers, etc.
Instead of baking holiday cookies, start a new tradition of gifts from the kitchen #saslife Click To Tweet  

For more holiday health tips, check out this article from Mark Hyman, MD-
10 Strategies to Stay on Track During the Holidays


Roasted Butternut Squash and Pears
Recipe from: Chowhound.com
Makes 6 Servings


As a Southerner, I was born loving sweet potatoes.  Winter squash, on the other hand, was an acquired taste.  But, it didn’t take long for butternut squash to become a comfort food at my house.  The natural sweetness in butternut squash has become a nice replacement for sugar for my ever present sweet tooth.

I went out on a limb this Thanksgiving and replaced my beloved, sugar laden, Sweet Potato Casserole with this Roasted Butternut Squash and Pears recipe.  Not one peep of complaint was expressed as all present noshed with happiness while a steady “Mmmm” was heard around the table.

A sharp vegetable peeler and a good sharp knife are a must for this recipe.  For a quick time saver, purchase pre-cut butternut squash at your supermarket.

Butternut squash is not just delicious, it is super nutritious.  One cup of butternut squash cubes contains almost 5 days’ worth of beta carotene, half of your daily vitamin C requirement plus 6.5 grams of fiber.




1 ½ tsp kosher salt, sea salt or seasoned salt
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or 1 tsp dried, crushed rosemary)
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large butternut squash (about 3½ pounds) – peeled and cubed into ¾ inch cubes
1 Tbsp unsalted butter or ghee (preferably grass fed)
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet yellow onion – chopped into medium dice
2 medium Bosc pears – ripe but firm - (about 1 pound) – cored and cubed into ½ inch cubes


Cutting the Butternut Squash:

  1. Peel the skin from the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler.
  2. Trim the top and bottom.
  3. Cut the neck from the bulb of the squash.
  4. Halve each piece lengthwise and scrape out the seeds from the bulb part.
  5. Cut each section into ¾ inch planks then into 3/4-inch cubes.

Making the Dish:

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Mix the salt, rosemary, and black pepper in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Place squash cubes in a large bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil to the squash and toss to coat evenly.
  4. Spread the squash into a single, even layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with half of the reserved salt mixture.  butternut-pear-step3
  5. Roast in oven until the squash is golden brown on the bottom, about 25 minutes.
  6. Using a flat spatula, stir and flip squash cubes and continue roasting until knife tender, about 10 minutes more. While squash is cooking, prepare the onion and pears. butternut-pear-step4
  7. Melt the ghee or butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil to the ghee.  Heat until shimmering.
  8. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. butternut-pear-step5
  9. Add the pears and remaining half of the salt mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears are knife tender, about 5 to 6 minutes more. butternut-pear-step6
  10. Remove the pan from the heat. When the squash is ready, add it to the pan with the onions and pears, toss gently to combine.
  11. Serve. butternut-squash-pears

For other blog posts and recipes for butternut squash, check out these links:


Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe.



About Author

Cathy Greer Mazanec, MPH, RDN, LDN

Cathy is the Senior Manager of Nutrition and Healthy Living Programs at SAS Institute Inc in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine nutritionist, blogger and food photographer. Cathy's specialties include integrative and functional nutrition, gut health, food allergies and intolerances and culinary nutrition. She is also a Certified Biofeedback instructor. An avid lover of the outdoors, Cathy spends her free time biking, golfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sitting under the stars and spending time with her grandson. Follow @CmazanecRD on Twitter.

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