I have to admit, I’m feeling confident in my willpower entering the holiday season – where treats becomes dinner, and indulgence becomes the norm.
Or where holiday warmth fills your body, right along with pie, cake, stuffing, candy, cookies, casserole, chocolate, peppermint, gingerbread, and eggnog, adding pounds, pounds, pounds, and pounds.
Or where loneliness creeps into your brain and single-handedly forces you to eat a carton of limited edition peppermint brownie ice cream and down a Venti peppermint mocha with extra whipped cream. Screw a Skinny.
Hopefully it’s not the last one.
But it is clear that the holiday season is a time of pure joy, indulgence, and potential guilt-drenched misery. At least for health freaks. Clarification: health freaks who are normal human beings and eat real food.
Some of my biggest loves are Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks. It’s something about the red cups that make people act as if they smoked too much of Santa’s crack. I’m sure some obscure, hipster coffee shop has a better and more tasty version, possibly with almond milk or soy and a dash of cinnamon. BUT, there is a Starbucks on almost every corner in Manhattan, and therefore, a peppermint mocha awaiting me on every corner for whenever I choose to get one. The urge bubbles up inside me every time I see a Starbucks, every time I see Christmas lights, and every time I feel cold. Essentially, every moment of the holiday months.
My strategy of self-trickery this year? Peppermint Americanos. I’ve successfully filled my craving of peppermint mochas this entire week (including the always-hard-to-conquer Friday) through Peppermint Americanos. Espresso, water, and two pumps of syrup. It’s intense in caffeine, refreshing in a ‘I just chewed a piece of peppermint gum’ kind of way, and way lower in calories due to the absence of milk, mocha syrup, and the always necessary chocolate shavings (glorious picture above).
Another favorite of mine is egg nog. As I was browsing Whole Foods the other day, I noticed egg nog decking the shelves next to the eggs and the buttermilk. Lo’ and behold, amidst my sadness at knowing I could not – and would not – drink away a whole morning at the gym, I saw S.O. Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Nog Beverage. Made with coconut milk as a base, this nog beverage is so thick and delicious and tasty that I might not ever go back to drinking regular egg nog. It’s that delightful. At only 90 calories per 1/2 cup, it’s also serves as a health-conscious swap for one of my favorite Christmas sweets.
Finding these simple, and still satisfying, replacements for my holiday favorites is my plan of action for the next month. Though, not all treats can be swapped. I don’t plan on replacing pecan pie or stuffing on Thanksgiving, or chocolate truffles on Christmas Eve, or a spicy hot chocolate from Jacque Torres Chocolate as I browse the Bryant Park holiday shops. And I certainly don’t plan on forgoing my mom’s mini cheesecake cookies.
Though, I really hope to savor these things and not indulge into every cookie tray I see over the next few weeks. It’s a goal. Otherwise, I will be forced to put in grueling hours at the gym and soak in guilt-plagued sweat.