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How does this happen?! It's a week before Christmas, and I've barely started shopping. More importantly, I haven't covered the topic of the holidays in this august journal, and it's very nearly too late. So here is a quick scattershot of tips that may get you through the next week, at any rate:
* Most Important Point (which is why I'm calling attention to it!) There is a huge difference between choosing to have an Indulgence for Christmas Day, and deciding "It's the Holiday Season" and giving yourself permission to eat every carb-y treat that appears before you. Pick and choose Indulgences mindfully, or you'll be ringing in 2005 in a larger size.
* Do not let others decide if, when, and with what you should Indulge. Ignore pleas of "But it's my special family recipe!" "I made it just for you!" "It's traditional!" and other such blackmail. Weigh for yourself the pleasure versus the pain of each possible Indulgence, keeping in mind the other opportunities for dietary indiscretion that are bound to come your way during the season, and make your decisions accordingly.
* Shift the focus off of food to other holiday fun. Build a snowman, go sledding or skating, make decorations, drive around to see the lights, go downtown to see the decorations in the shop windows, go caroling, gather 'round the fireplace and read Christmas stories aloud. Give your family traditions that don't focus on sugar!!
* Check specialty candy stores for foil-wrapped sugar-free chocolate novelties, like Santas and foil-wrapped ornaments. I've had good luck finding these. Many stores can also make up an assortment of sugar-chocolates in a fancy box - a great gift for low carbers on your list.
* The lowest carb and calorie way I know to get a quick chocolate fix is to nuke a cup of Carb Countdown chocolate flavor for the best sugar-free cocoa ever. Add a drop or two of peppermint extract for a festive flair.
* Can't get Carb Countdown? Swiss Miss Diet Cocoa Mix has 4 grams of carb per cup. Easy to stash in your desk, to help you resist those cookies in the break room!
* For you folks lucky to live in New York, New England, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, Carb Countdown is also distributing low carb eggnog in those regions. Here's hoping that next year they distribute this nationwide - I know my nog-loving husband would be happy.
* Speaking of which, there are two cookie recipes in the Cooking Low Carb! section, below, which will make you very popular with your low carbing co-workers.
* No time to bake? Do yourself a favor and keep at least a sugar free truffle or two on hand. Sugar is likely to ambush you at the darnedest moments this time of year. Be prepared.
* If you're going to a party, and it's the custom in your set to bring a dish along, bring something you love that you won't regret the next day. Hot wings, stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, all will be welcomed by non-low-carbers, and will keep you happy.
* No time to cook? Your grocery store deli will come to the rescue. Just call in advance, and they'll make up a tray of hot wings, cheese and sausage, assorted cold cuts, vegetables and dip, or cold shrimp, any of which will brighten up a party. You could also buy a few gourmet cheeses and some fiber crackers, or smoked salmon.
* This sort of "pickup food" is a great strategy for cozy nights at home with the family, too. While decorating the tree, wrapping presents, or watching A Christmas Story for the umpteenth time, just set out a variety of substantial, nutritious, low carb snack foods, and call it supper. Easier than getting the milling hoards assembled around the dining room table.
* Feel like you have to have sugary treats, or people will be disappointed? Serve something that's not your own personal favorite.
* Don't stand by the food table at parties. Grab a plate, load it up with low carb treats, and go socialize somewhere else. Standing there next to the bowl of chips is not a good idea!
* Speaking of parties, you might want to go really easy on the sugar free candy and other polyol/sugar alcohol-laden treats if you have a party to go to. Remember, that stuff can cause, er, social offensiveness. Having a vicious gas attack at the Christmas party is not likely to endear you to your friends.Posted by HoldTheToast at December 19, 2004 12:19 PM