Offset the Baking Bites

It can be difficult to avoid nibbling on the scraps.

Too Many Holiday Treats to Eat Dinner?!  This year I am spreading out my holiday baking: the traditional sugar cookies today, fudge next week, and the seasoned nuts the following weekend. In the past I would find myself doing this all in one day. By the end of the day I would inevitably realize that I sampled too many of the goodies along the way. (My Mom used to call spatulas “child cheaters” since it left less in the bowl for us to lick.)

After the day or afternoon of baking and tasting, 5-6-7 pm rolls around and it is time for dinner, unfortunately I realize that: a) I don’t NEED any more calories, and b) I’m just not HUNGRY!

However if I don’t want the tummy ache and the headache the next day, and before writing off dinner altogether, I have a strategy that reduces my chances of venturing back to the kitchen to nibble on another “tiny” bite of fudge or just a small cookie before bed.

I still eat a balanced “dinner” or light snack, and do it at a reasonable hour. No, I’m not hungry, but I need to eat some “real food” tonight and remember to start out “right” tomorrow. I recommend to people all the time: if you have eaten too much sugar today (or poorly in general), you will probably feel your best tomorrow. So, but don’t wait until later to start eating better, tonight and tomorrow are when you start all over (not next week, or New Years Day, tomorrow).

To help out, have some protein and whole grains for dinner. If your calories went too high from the snacking, definitely go with something “light,” but balanced – between 250 – 400 calories. What is too high? It really depends on how many nibbles and bites and licking you did, so it is impossible to know how many calories you eat during a baking session.

Reminder: too many calories today won’t lead to overall weight gain. It is too many calories over many days, consistently, that will lead to weight gain.

Even though this dinner or snack will likely put you over your daily calories some more, keep this in mind over the next couple of days, and don’t over sugar yourself again – and really watch the calories over the next several days. Keep the calories in line for you and a bit under (exercise helps here).

Here are some ideas for the light snack/dinner:

  • Light or non-fat yogurt (Greek yogurt is my favorite) with a tablespoon each of wheat germ and chopped nuts (you can add fruit if you wish).
  • Half to whole sandwich: peanut butter (1-2 Tb.) and jelly/honey or lean turkey (3 oz.) with mustard on whole wheat bread.
  • Any kind of soup and whole grain crackers. I often keep soups in the pantry for the quick meals. I recommend bean soups since they are full of healthy protein. Choose the lower sodium versions when available (since sodium will aid in fluid retention).

These are a few small suggestions to balance the baking binges, should you find yourself a “victim” – whether they are light baking recipes or not…

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