This weekend the United States celebrates Halloween, a holiday which has evolved into a sugar-high free-for-all that lasts from now through the New Year. It has become an excuse for pigging out on candy and other tooth-decaying, hunger-promoting, body-damaging treats. I even saw a bowl of Halloween candy at my dentist’s office!
Unfortunately, mixing highly refined sugar with saturated or hydrogenated fats is not only a nutritional nightmare, with many negative health impacts, it is also a highly addictive combination that continues to haunt people all year long. One little piece has the ability to leave us wanting more.
Fortunately, there are other options for treats during the holidays. How about single-serving versions of unsweetened apple sauce, fruit cups, sugar snap peas, or baby carrots? When it comes to healthy treats, there’s nothing better than natural fruits and vegetables. On the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid, fresh fruits and vegetables form the base of the pyramid with no limitation as to how often and how much we eat of them.
Another alternative, better than candy but not not to be eaten with the reckless abandon of fresh fruits and vegetables, are organic energy bars made from dried fruits and nuts. The best bars have no processed sugar, dairy, grain, peanuts, corn, processed oils, and hydrogenated fats. They are not even baked. Dried fruits, nuts, and natural flavors are simply crushed, mixed, and pressed together to form a bar. Now that’s a healthy treat for a special occasion! My favorites include:
- Clif Nectar Bars. I like these bars because they have less than 200 calories — usually around 160 — and they taste great. My favorite bars are Cinnamon Pecan (Ingredients: Dates, Pecans, Cinnamon, and Vanilla) and Dark Chocolate Walnut (Ingredients: Dates, Walnuts, Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa, and Vanilla).
- LaraBars. These bars usually have about 200 calories, because they weigh a little more than the Clif Nectar Bars, with the same types of ingredients. I like their Cherry Pie bar (Ingredients: Dates, Almonds, and Unsweetened Cherries) as well as their Cocoa Mole bar, which has a mild spicy kick (Ingredients: Dates, Almonds, Walnuts, Unsweetened Cocoa, Cinnamon, and Chili).
Walk into any health food store and you are bound to find other, local brands of fruit and nut bars. They are great alternatives to candy when it ’tis the season to celebrate.
Coaching Inquiries: How often do you eat candy or other foods made with refined sugar and saturated or hydrogenated fats? Can you imagine living happily without such treats? What would you want to substitute in their place? How could health and wellness become your true love? Who could join you on the journey?
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
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