Healthy Eating

The Sneakiest Holiday Sugar Traps – and How to Avoid Them!


Normally we’re in danger of inadvertently drinking too many calories, but during the holidays, the danger is pretty clear: it’s piles of candy, cupcakes, cookies and pie.

While this calorie battlefield may seem obvious, it is no less hauntingly delicious. If you have a sweet tooth, you know how difficult it is to rein in sugar consumption this time of year.

When it comes to avoiding sugar-bingeing during the holidays, knowing what to watch for is the secret. So if you’re wondering how to avoid holiday sugar traps, here are four HUGE sugar-binge traps you’ll want to keep an eye on:

Sugar Trap 1: Following the Wrong Advice

What’s the best way to control sugar cravings?

One method is to indulge a little, in order to prevent, say, a light hankering for pumpkin pie from turning into a full-on obsession. Another method is to not even go there because even a small indulgence could send a “green light” to the subconscious mind and open the floodgates.

Which advice is better? And does the constant debate make you want to skip the pie, tilt a can of whipped cream into your mouth and crank down the nozzle because at this point, does it even matter?!?

Yes, it does matter. (And actually, a whipped cream blast may not be a bad idea, since overindulging can help you gross yourself out to the point of killing a craving forever.)

But all three of these methods are going to be great for some people while backfiring for others. The right sugar craving technique depends on you. So instead of feeling tugged back and forth by advice, try out multiple methods and see which helps YOU find your treat “sweet spot,” then stick with it

Sugar Trap 2: Letting Other People Serve You

When it comes to dishing up foods, other people simply can’t be trusted. I don’t know why, but when my family dishes up pie, they dish up a PILE. Maybe it’s sabotage; maybe they just want to bring me as much joy as possible—either way, I always get three times more than I need. And when they say, “just eat what you can,” I still feel obligated to eat it all.

Homemaker Holding Turkey on a Platter

From what IdealShapers have said, most of you are getting similarly over-served. The best way to avoid this is to be ready to jump up and serve yourself the minute someone offers you food. If they beat you to the chase, offer to split it with someone, or scoop half back when no one’s looking (I do this all the time. No shame!).

Sugar Trap 3: Losing Count

Did you know there are up to 585 calories in a bakery cupcake?

If that’s not scary enough, what’s really wild is how easy it is to lose count—not just of how many calories are in a treat, but how many times we indulge in a day.

Sometimes when someone hands me a treat, I just take it without thinking. And I don’t know about you, but if I have a lame treat and then stumble upon a really good one (cupcakes!), I’m gonna eat the really good one too.

The best way to avoid automatically accepting treats is to choose early on which treat you want to have for the day and keep your eyes on the prize. I’ve probably seen this tip in every single diet article, yet we always forget, don’t we? So it bears repeating: pick your 200 or 300-calorie poison and you won’t go with the flow and sponge up thousands of calories, unawares.

Sugar Trap 4: Coworkers

I’m going to be frank: the office sugar mania is WEIRD. The guys I work with stock candy bars and orange-cream Oreos in their desks on a regular basis. What’s worse, they make sure to show me exactly which drawers their sugar stashes are in and remind me of it hourly.

Normally I don’t keep candy and other sweets around. I never buy this stuff, but when others are waving it in my face all day, things get complicated. The availability of treats, combined with the monotony of sitting at a computer all day, leads to sugar love like I’ve never known before.


If you work in an office or have coworkers in any setting, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. How can we fight the office “chocolate factory?” First and foremost, I think it helps to be aware of it: there’s no magic—it’s just a product of sugar availability + boredom. Second, refer to the advice in #1-3.

Most importantly, stay satisfied. Skip pointless breakfast foods in favor of healthy protein-filled meals and snacks (perhaps a meal replacement shake) because they’ll keep you full. Then, stuff them in your mouth as fast as you can before the treat fairies come ’round!

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Chelsea Ratcliff

Chelsea Ratcliff

Writer and expert

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