Sweets and pastries are in abundance this time of the year. One is bound to come across all kinds of them during family or friendly gatherings, or to receive them as gifts or when it’s dessert time at a restaurant!
There is no need to feel guilty, so long as you have a strategy and you’re willing to follow a few simple tips. Those will allow to enjoy everything without “wandering too far off”.
Be mindful of what you eat
Instead of hastily devouring dessert, choose one you really like and slowly enjoy it one bite at a time. This way you are more likely to eat less.
Have a hot beverage after the meal
Rather than having dessert right after your meal opt for a hot beverage instead, alone or with others, like tea or coffee. You will observe that the break between main meal and dessert may give you time to realize you are full and that you don’t really want dessert.
Enjoy in moderation
Sweets and pastries are not off the table, however they have to be part of a balanced dietary programme, otherwise you are not receiving any of the benefits that nutrition has on our health and wellbeing.
When you have sweets/pastries make sure you choose those with highest nutritional value
Although melomakarona (Greek honey cookies for Christmas) and kourabiedes (Greek butter cookies for Christmas) have equal energy intake (same calories), melomakarona have a higher nutritional value, because they don’t contain animal fat, while containing the monounsaturated fat and olive oil which benefit us. On the other hand, kourabiedes have animal fat because they’re made with butter, as well as cholesterol from the egg yolks. The same is true about vasilopita (New Year Cake made using olive oil), which also contains eggs and butter. Another traditional pastry diples (pastry with honey and walnuts), while they are also made using eggs and olive oil (which is fried and therefore is not as healthy as raw olive oil), cinnamon, nuts, and honey which contain antioxidants.
If you wish to choose another sweet/pastry, beyond those mentioned above, try not to eat a large quantity. The ones who are made with more of sugar and butter should be consumed with the least frequency. The best option is some sweet/pastry that contains nuts, dark chocolate and fruits.