How to Fight Sugar Cravings This Holiday Season

Holiday Sugar Guide

First it’s Halloween. Bowls of candy begin to cloak your office’s kitchen counters like a captivating costume. As you’re working through a tough project or a mundane weekly task, your mind is thinking candy, and perhaps your hands start to follow.

Then comes November. Aunt Jane, Cousin Joey, coworker Christy – they’re all making pie. There’s apple and pumpkin, soon to be followed by December’s 12+ days of cookies. Pretty soon, you feel your pants are fitting a bit snugger, and you’re energy is flying up and down like a reindeer sleigh running out of steam.

As sugar season (aka, the holidays) nears full swing, temptations are bound to show up frequently, which is why we’re bringing you a game plan to keep your health on track. Remember, a healthier you = a better feeling you = a happier you. Avoid reaching for the candy bowl, and you’ll keep your energy levels from crashing and all those empty calories from packing on the pounds.

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We’ve got 5 sweet, sugar-free escapes in the printout* above, so whenever the sugar fairy tries to cast its spell, you can turn away towards an even better alternative. Print it out and hang it by your desk or kitchen.

When temptation arises, turn to this guide and choose the option that feels most appealing to you. Go in with the mindset of each being a pleasant experience (or “sweet escape”, as we at LifeVest like to call it). This will set yourself up to enjoy each choice, and also make it so you won’t feel deprived.

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Lucky Foods for Friday the 13th


Try saying that five times fast. Or once, for that matter. (We dare you.)

We can’t tell you how to pronounce that word, but we can tell you it means “the fear of Friday the 13th”. For those with symptoms, we’ve got some solutions for all those superstitious jitters – edible ones that’ll enhance your health, whether you think you need them or not.

Foods for good luck (and good health):

  • Its lucky legend: From warding off vampires to preventing affects that come from someone giving you the evil eye (so say the Ancient Greeks), this pungent bulb reeks of luck.
  • Why you should really eat it: The same chemical that makes garlic smell, allicin, is a naturally occurring antioxidant that may help improve heart health. Evidence shows garlic may lower blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol levels, and numerous studies indicate the cloves have anti-cancerous effects.

(Whole Grain) Rice


  • Its lucky legend: The throwing of rice at weddings is said to bring prosperity, wealth and happiness to happy couples.
  • Why you should really eat it: Whole grain rice (brown/wild/etc.) is packed with fiber, minerals and phytonutrients. White rice, however, is not, since its nutrient-rich germ and bran are removed in processing. Eating 2 or more servings of brown rice a week can help reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by about 10%. Those who eat white rice on a regular basis are almost 20% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

Black-eyed Peas

Black eyed peas

  • Its lucky legend: “Hoppin John”, a Southern dish featuring black-eyed peas is said to bring good luck and prosperity when eaten each New Year.
  • Why you should really eat it: These guys are loaded with vitamins and minerals, like over 50% DV (daily value) of potassium, crucial for heart and cell function. The beans also have a whopping 11 grams of fiber per cup, which helps lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.

Food52’s looking out for us today. They’ve got a recipe that combines all three of the ingredients listed above, packaged into one wholesome meal we want on our prosperity plate. Whip it up tonight to ward off any bad luck, or make it this weekend for the simple sake of your health. Check out the recipe here, and may good luck be with you.

Sweet, sweet potato

Courtesy of

There’s no question that sweet potatoes are one of fall’s best crops. They are rich in sweet and savory flavor, remind us of Thanksgiving festivities, and better yet, they provide us with a number of health benefits. These vibrant veggies are packed with beta-carotene, vitamin A and B-complex vitamins, all of which give your immune system a major boost. As if this weren’t enough, sweet potatoes’ low calorie and high fiber combination make them a great aid for weight loss. Most of us are most familiar with sweet potatoes in the form of a Thanksgiving casserole topped with marshmallows, but there are many more interesting and delicious ways that they can be prepared. Try out these recipes from New York Times food columnist Martha Rose Shulman at your next dinner party. Read the rest of this entry »