Indulging in Real Treats during the Holidays

Let me say one thing up front: this post is not about eating healthy during the holidays.

Yes, I’m all about moderation and being sensible and planning ahead and blah, blah blah. But come on, it’s the holidays. When else do you have a chance to partake in sumptuous baked goods, or savoury stuffing, or buttery mashed potatoes? Often made by other people? Yes, I firmly believe that the holidays are just too good an occasion to pass up all the delicious things that you will never see again for 12 months.

What I do try to pass over during the holidays (10 points to those who caught the Jewish pun) are fake foods. There are so many delicious indulgences out there; why waste a bite on something that’s full of, well, crap? And the scary thing is, a lot of indulgent treats out on the supermarket shelves are just that: fake. Below is a run down of what to avoid and some better options to choose.

 

Chocolate

Yes, you heard right. I’m so sorry to tell you this, my friends, but a lot of ‘chocolate’ on the shelves has little to no chocolate in it. (And Santa Claus doesn’t exist, and the Tooth Fairy won’t give you money for teeth full of cavities. I might as well shatter all your illusions right now.) Take those holiday boxed chocolates that are being advertised everywhere. There are often mostly sugar and cocoa butter, with very little actual chocolate thrown in. In fact, they are usually packed with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and dangerous food dyes. Yecch.

Better, I say, to indulge in some real chocolate. I like the bars that are 70% dark chocolate, only because I like the bitter taste of chocolate. But feel free to choose a milk chocolate if you like instead; just read the ingredient list to make sure it’s as clean as possible (but, whatever you do, don’t look at the nutritional panel. It’s chocolate. it’s Christmas. You don’t need to know.)

 

Ice Cream

I feel like the Grim Reaper round-housing the Easter bunny. But I’m sorry, I had to do it. Most ice creams are packed full of the same things as the fake chocolates – high fructose corn syrup (a cheaper alternative to sugar), hydrogenated oils (a cheaper alternative to cream) and artifical flavours and food dyes (a cheaper alternative to actual flavour.) Now, I’m not telling you not to eat ice cream – far from it. Just indulge in the real, premium stuff – it usually has simpler, high quality ingredients.  I like Haagen Dazs Five (it has only five ingredients) or some of the President’s Choice Black Label flavours (Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Salted Caramel or  Coffee all sound delicious.)

The good thing is, the products with the simpler ingredients often taste better as those ingredients are of higher quality, so I’m really telling you to eat really good chocolate and ice cream, not avoid it altogether. Hopefully that makes up for any childhood beliefs I might have trampled on in the process (sorry, Tooth Fairy.)

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

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