Why Too Much Sugar Is Bad for You

When it comes to sugar we are told it’s bad for us but yet here we are consuming more and more sugar. Today I discuss the nasty side of sugar and why it’s time for you to consider going totally sugar-free or the very least cutting back on your sugar intake.

From marinara sauce to peanut butter, added sugar can be found in even the most unexpected products.

Many people rely on quick, processed foods for meals and snacks. Since these products often contain added sugar, it makes up a large proportion of their daily calorie intake.

In the US, added sugars account for up to 17% of the total calorie intake of adults and up to 14% for children (total added sugar intakes).

Dietary guidelines suggest limiting calories from added sugar to less than 10% per day (What Are Added Sugars?).

Experts believe that sugar consumption is a major cause of obesity and many chronic diseases, such as diabetes.


Ways Sugar Can Cause Weight Gain

Too Much Sugar

Rates of obesity are rising worldwide and added sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages, is thought to be one of the main culprits.

Sugar-sweetened drinks like sodas, juices and sweet teas are loaded with fructose, a type of simple sugar.

Consuming fructose increases your hunger and desire for food more than glucose, the main type of sugar found in starchy foods (Differential effects of fructose versus glucose).

Additionally, excessive fructose consumption may cause resistance to leptin, an important hormone that regulates hunger and tells your body to stop eating ( leptin resistance).

In other words, sugary beverages don’t curb your hunger, making it easy to quickly consume a high number of liquid calories. This can lead to weight gain.

Research has consistently shown that people who drink sugary beverages, such as soda and juice, weigh more than people who don’t (Sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain).

Also, drinking a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to an increased amount of visceral fat, a kind of deep belly fat associated with conditions like diabetes and heart disease (cardiometabolic risk).

Consuming too much added sugar, especially from sugary beverages, increases your risk of weight gain and can lead to visceral fat accumulation.

May Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease: High-sugar “diets” have been associated with an increased risk of many diseases, including heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide (Cardiovascular Disease).

Evidence suggests that high-sugar “diets” can lead to obesity, inflammation and high triglyceride, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels — all risk factors for heart disease ( Coronary Heart Disease).

Additionally, consuming too much sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened drinks, has been linked to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by fatty, artery-clogging deposits ( metabolic syndrome).

A study in over 30,000 people found that those who consumed 17–21% of calories from added sugar had a 38% greater risk of dying from heart disease, compared to those consuming only 8% of calories from added sugar (Added sugar).

Just one 16-ounce (473-ml) can of soda contains 52 grams of sugar, which equates to more than 10% of your daily calorie consumption, based on a 2,000-calorie “diet” (Cocoa Cola).

This means that one sugary drink a day can already put you over the recommended daily limit for added sugar.

Consuming too much-added sugar increases heart disease risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, and inflammation. High-sugar “diets” have been linked to an increased risk of dying from heart disease.

Foods with a high glycemic index, such as processed sweets, raise your blood sugar more rapidly than foods with a lower glycemic index.

Sugary foods quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, causing increased androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which play a role in acne development (acne vulgaris).

Studies have shown that low-glycemic diets are associated with a reduced acne risk, while high-glycemic diets are linked to greater risk (The effect of a high-protein, low glycemic-load diet).

For example, a study in 2,300 teens demonstrated that those who frequently consumed added sugar had a 30% greater risk of developing acne (Acne: prevalence and relationship with dietary habits).

Also, many population studies have shown that rural communities that consume traditional, non-processed foods have almost non-existent rates of acne, compared to more urban, high-income areas (The blemishes of modern society).

These findings coincide with the theory that diets high in processed, sugar-laden foods contribute to the development of acne.

High-sugar diets can increase androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which can raise your risk of developing acne.

 Increases Your Risk of Diabetes: The worldwide prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled over the past 30 years (National, regional, and global trends in fasting plasma glucose and diabetes ).

Though there are many reasons for this, there is a clear link between excessive sugar consumption and diabetes risk.

Obesity, which is often caused by consuming too much sugar, is considered the strongest risk factor for diabetes (Risk Factors Contributing to Type 2 Diabetes).

What’s more, prolonged high-sugar consumption drives resistance to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels.

Insulin resistance causes blood sugar levels to rise and strongly increases your risk of diabetes.

A population study comprising over 175 countries found that the risk of developing diabetes grew by 1.1% for every 150 calories of sugar, or about one can of soda, consumed per day (The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes).

Other studies have also shown that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages, including fruit juice, are more likely to develop diabetes (Intake of Fruit Juice and Incidence of Type 2 DiabetesAssociation between sugar-sweetened beverages and type 2 diabetes).

A high-sugar “diet” may lead to obesity and insulin resistance, both of which are risk factors for diabetes.

First, a “diet” rich in sugary foods and beverages can lead to obesity, which significantly raises your risk of cancer (Obesity as a Major Risk Factor for Cancer).

Furthermore, “diets” high in sugar increase inflammation in your body and may cause insulin resistance, both of which increase cancer risk (The Links Between Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, and Cancer).

A study in over 430,000 people found that added sugar consumption was positively associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer, pleural cancer, and cancer of the small intestine (Sugars in diet and risk of cancer).

Another study showed that women who consumed sweet buns and cookies more than three times per week were 1.42 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women who consumed these foods less than 0.5 times per week (Sucrose, high-sugar foods, and risk of endometrial cancer).

Research on the link between added sugar intake and cancer is ongoing, and more studies are needed to fully understand this complex relationship.

Too much sugar can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for cancer.

Consuming a lot of processed foods, including high-sugar products such as cakes and sugary drinks, has been associated with a higher risk of depression (Sweetened beverages, coffee, and tea and depressionDietary pattern and depressive symptoms).

Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation and inflammation may all be reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health (Long-term inflammation increases risk).

A study following 8,000 people for 22 years showed that men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than men who ate less than 40 grams per day (Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder).

Another study in over 69,000 women demonstrated that those with the highest intakes of added sugars had a significantly greater risk of depression, compared to those with the lowest intakes (High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression).

A “diet” rich in added sugar and processed foods may increase depression risk in both men and women.

 

 May Accelerate the Skin Aging Process: Wrinkles are a natural sign of aging. They appear eventually, regardless of your health.

However, poor food choices can worsen wrinkles and speed the skin aging process.

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are compounds formed by reactions between sugar and protein in your body. They are suspected to play a key role in skin aging (Advanced glycation).

Consuming a “diet” high in refined carbs and sugar leads to the production of AGEs, which may cause your skin to age prematurely (The rapid increase in metabolic diseases).

AGEs damage collagen and elastin, which are proteins that help the skin stretch and keep its youthful appearance.

When collagen and elastin become damaged, the skin loses its firmness and begins to sag.

In one study, women who consumed more carbs, including added sugars, had a more wrinkled appearance than women on a high-protein, lower-carb diet (Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged women).

The researchers concluded that a lower intake of carbs was associated with better skin-aging appearance (Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging).

Sugary foods can increase the production of AGEs, which can accelerate skin aging and wrinkle formation.

 

 Can Increase Cellular Aging: Telomeres are structures found at the end of chromosomes, which are molecules that hold part or all of your genetic information.

Telomeres act as protective caps, preventing chromosomes from deteriorating or fusing together.

As you grow older, telomeres naturally shorten, which causes cells to age and malfunction (Nutrition and lifestyle in healthy aging).

Although the shortening of telomeres is a normal part of aging, unhealthy lifestyle choices can speed up the process.

Consuming high amounts of sugar has been shown to accelerate telomere shortening, which increases cellular aging (Effects of nutritional components on aging).

A study in 5,309 adults showed that regularly drinking sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with shorter telomere length and premature cellular aging ( Associations Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption ).

In fact, each daily 20-ounce (591-ml) serving of sugar-sweetened soda equated to 4.6 additional years of aging, independent of other variables (Soda and Cell Aging).

Eating too much sugar can accelerate the shortening of telomeres, which increases cellular aging.

 

 Drains Your Energy: Foods high in added sugar quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to increased energy.

However, this rise in energy levels is fleeting.

Products that are loaded with sugar but lacking in protein, fiber or fat lead to a brief energy boost that’s quickly followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar, often referred to as a crash (A high sugar, low fiber meal leads to higher leptin).

Having constant blood sugar swings can lead to major fluctuations in energy levels (Effects of high sugar and high fiber meals ).

To avoid this energy-draining cycle, choose carb sources that are low in added sugar and rich in fiber.

Pairing carbs with protein or fat is another great way to keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable.

For example, eating an apple along with a small handful of almonds is an excellent snack for prolonged, consistent energy levels.

High-sugar foods can negatively impact your energy levels by causing a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash.

 Can Lead to Fatty Liver: A high intake of fructose has been consistently linked to an increased risk of fatty liver.

Unlike glucose and other types of sugar, which are taken up by many cells throughout the body, fructose is almost exclusively broken down by the liver.

In the liver, fructose is converted into energy or stored as glycogen.

However, the liver can only store so much glycogen before excess amounts are turned into fat.

Large amounts of added sugar in the form of fructose overload your liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition characterized by excessive fat buildup in the liver (fatty liver disease).

A study in over 5,900 adults showed that people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages daily had a 56% higher risk of developing NAFLD, compared to people who did not (39).

Eating too much sugar may lead to NAFLD, a condition in which excessive fat builds up in the liver.


Other Health Risks

Aside from the risks listed above, sugar can harm your body in countless other ways.


Research shows that too much added sugar can:

Research on the impact of added sugar on health is ongoing, and new discoveries are constantly being made.

Consuming too much sugar may worsen cognitive decline, increase gout risk, harm your kidneys and cause cavities.


How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Excessive added sugar has many negative health effects.

Although consuming small amounts now and then is perfectly healthy, you should try to cut back on sugar whenever possible.

Fortunately, simply focusing on eating whole, unprocessed foods automatically decreases the amount of sugar in your diet.


Here are some tips on how to reduce your intake of added sugars:

  • Swap sodas, energy drinks, juices and sweetened teas for water or unsweetened seltzer.
  • Drink your coffee black or use Stevia for a zero-calorie, natural sweetener.
  • Sweeten plain yogurt with fresh or frozen berries instead of buying flavored, sugar-loaded yogurt.
  • Consume whole fruits instead of sugar-sweetened fruit smoothies.
  • Replace candy with a homemade trail mix of fruit, nuts and a few dark chocolate chips.
  • Use olive oil and vinegar in place of sweet salad dressings like honey mustard.
  • Choose marinades, nut butters, ketchup and marinara sauce with zero added sugars.
  • Look for cereals, granolas and granola bars with under 4 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Swap your morning cereal for a bowl of rolled oats topped with nut butter and fresh berries, or an omelet made with fresh greens.
  • Instead of jelly, slice fresh bananas onto your peanut butter sandwich.
  • Use natural nut butters in place of sweet spreads like Nutella.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey, sugar or agave.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients.

In addition, keeping a food diary is an excellent way of becoming more aware of the main sources of sugar in your diet.

The best way to limit your added sugar intake is to prepare your own healthy meals at home and avoid buying foods and drinks that are high in added sugar.

Focusing on preparing healthy meals and limiting your intake of foods that contain added sweeteners can help you cut back on the amount of sugar in your “diet”.

Eating too much added sugar can have many negative health effects.

An excess of sweetened foods and beverages can lead to weight gain, blood sugar problems and an increased risk of heart disease, among other dangerous conditions.

For these reasons, added sugar should be kept to a minimum whenever possible, which is easy when you follow a healthy “diet” based on whole foods.

If you need to cut added sugar from your “diet”, try some of the small changes listed above.

Before you know it, your sugar habit will be a thing of the past.


 Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section. If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

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Worst Things About Chocolate

Sorry, but filling your sweetie up with gross additives and tons of nutrient-deficient calories doesn’t sound so sexy to me does it sound sexy to you? Although it’s true that dark chocolate is full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants and has been shown to provide mental and cardiovascular benefits, these bonuses don’t extend to the low-quality candies you mindlessly pick up in a drugstore on your way home from work.

It may appear like a well-intentioned gesture, but your loved one isn’t going to be happy with you once they read these nasty facts about certain Valentine’s Day candies. My vote that you stick to the flowers, spa treatments, and homemade cards instead.

Most of It Is Made With Alkalized, or “Dutch,” Chocolate

cocoa spice

Cocoa powder is naturally acidic, and this can be a major flavor turnoff for many people’s palates. Thus, most American candy manufacturers process their cocoa with alkali, a process known as alkalizing or “Dutch processing” the chocolate. This results in a more mild-tasting, neutral cocoa. There’s just one problem: this technique significantly reduces levels of the main antioxidant that lends its anti-inflammatory properties to chocolate. And when we say significantly, I’m talking a nearly 90 percent decrease in these flavanols, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. So don’t try to justify another piece by referencing chocolate’s known benefits.


Sorry, but Chocolate Is Probably Not an Aphrodisiac

couple in bed sad

Unless you’re eating super dark chocolate, which may help turn you on, don’t rely on that box of wax-coated chocolates to be a libido-booster. Most factory-made chocolates are low in the antioxidants that can increase your energy and sexual desire, and chocolate isn’t the magical aphrodisiac we think it is. In fact, according to a 2006 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, when adjusted for age, women who reported high chocolate consumption had similar levels of sexual desire and satisfaction than those who reported low chocolate consumption.


White Chocolate Is Barely Even Chocolate

various chocolates

White chocolate is a little like white, refined flour: they’re both over processed and devoid of nutrients. The only “chocolate” part of white chocolate is cocoa butter (the rest of the treat is milk solids, milk fat, and a sweetener), and even that ingredient typically loses any traces of antioxidant properties during a “deodorizing” step. Without the dark cocoa solids, white chocolate doesn’t contain any antioxidant flavanols or gut-healthy prebiotics, which help reduce inflammation and fight weight gain. It also lacks the ability to stimulate the euphoria-inducing chemicals that real chocolate does, including serotonin.


Chocolate Triggers Loss of Consumption Control

godiva chocolate heart valentines box

Don’t worry, you’re not alone in feeling out of control when gifted a chocolate box. It’s a combination of construction and the nature of chocolate itself. First, the variety of flavors entices you to try each one and eat more than you had planned. Second, the combination of sugar and cocoa in chocolate make it hard to stop yourself from going back for seconds. According to a 2011 Drexel University study, this dynamic duo is extremely addictive, and just tasting chocolate can trigger feelings of euphoria, just like addictive drugs can. As a result, you may feel a loss of control when gifted with a box. Even if a food is considered healthy, portion control is still key.


You May Get a Stomachache

woman holding stomach

You didn’t plan for this to happen, but as we just explained, it’s almost too easy to overeat those creamy chocolates. Whether it’s because they’re bite-size, downright delicious, or we get caught up in the holiday-esque moment of Valentine’s Day, many of us can miss certain satiety cues that we’ve eaten enough. As a result, you could suffer from the post-overindulgence stomach ache of pain, gas, and indigestion.


You Might Experience Acid Reflux if You Eat Too Much

man holding chest in pain

It’s unfortunate but true. Chocolate is one of a group of foods that causes your lower esophageal sphincter (a muscle that normally works to keep the acid down in the stomach) to relax. As a result, it causes the acidic stomach contents to travel back upwards and gives you a burning sensation in your chest, aka heartburn. It’s all thanks to two compounds in chocolate, caffeine, and theobromine, which weaken your lower esophageal sphincter. Something tells me having chest pains wasn’t on your checklist of sexy V-day activities.


You’re Eating More Sugar Than Chocolate

sugar spoon

After looking at all the popular Valentine’s Day candy sold in drug stores, we found that the average serving size of chocolate contains over 21 grams of sugar. Although serving sizes range from one piece to three, when I took a look at nutritional information per gram of candy, most pieces of chocolate were made up of more than 50 percent sugar. In other words, you’re eating more sugar than you are chocolate. That’s not so sweet if you ask us.


High-Sugar Chocolates Can Harm Your Immunity

sugar sick valentines

Since chocolate is so bitter, manufacturers love adding sugar to it. But sometimes, they go a bit overboard. Consider this: If you eat just 10 pieces of Ghirardelli’s Dark & Strawberry squares (three times the recommended serving size, but hey, it could happen), you’ll be consuming just shy of 100 grams of sugar. It sounds extreme, but a 2015 study found that consuming this amount of sugar could drastically decrease the number of white blood cells (your immune system’s first responders) in your body. Even if you don’t eat a whopping 100 grams in a single sitting, just eating the three squares will set you back 29 grams of sugar or 58 percent of your recommended daily intake of added sugars per day. Too much of the sweet stuff can lead to issues that range from dental cavities to insulin resistance and metabolic disease.


You’ll Consume a Lot of Calories

woman eating chocolate bar

Thanks to being high in fat and sugar, chocolate is usually very high in calories. And you know the drill: eat more calories than you burn and you can pack on the pounds. That being said, one day of indulgence isn’t likely to break your clean-eating streak.


You May Be Consuming a Carcinogen

palm fruit oil

Palm oil, a vegetable oil that contains mostly saturated fats but also polyunsaturated fats, comes from the palm fruit. Although a well-researched 2015 review published in the journal World Journal of Cardiology found that palm oil can be consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet without concern of its limited effects on cholesterol levels, a different conclusion was reached by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, similar to the U.S.’s FDA). In May 2016 and after reviewing a study published in the world-renowned journal Nature earlier that year, the organization claimed that palm oil “generated more of a potentially carcinogenic contaminant [palmitic acid] than other vegetable oils when refined at temperatures above 200 degrees Celsius.” The EFSA did not recommend consumers to stop eating it—yet—and are now looking into the potential risks.


Or a Banned Substance

chocolate candies

A few V-day heart-shaped boxes (like those from Russel Stover and Elmer) still list partially hydrogenated oil (PHO) among their long list of artificially-manipulated ingredients. In this case, you can see the heart-shaped box as a sign that you should watch your heart health. PHO is a type of man-made trans fat that the FDA has banned from being used in our food beginning in 2018.


You’re Not Eating Quality

hershey chocolate valentines day triple

If your standards are high for your partner, you should at least maintain those high standards for the candy you’re about to gift him or her. Candies like York Peppermint Patty Hearts and Hershey’s XOXO bars contain an ingredient called PGPR in their bite-size candy bars. Instead of using high-quality cocoa butter as a fat and emulsifier, lower-grade candy bars use PGPR (Polyglycerol polyricinoleate): a yellowish, viscous liquid of fatty acids. It’s cheaper to manufacture the candy with this ingredient than to use the real stuff, so the quality gets sacrificed for quantity in this situation. 


You Could Be Eating Insects or Mouse Poop and Hair

mouse eating

Excuse my language, but yes, the FDA actually allows mouse poop in your food—although, they do use a pretty scientific term for it, “mammalian excreta.” According to their guidelines, trace amounts of the brown stuff, up to 10 mg per pound, can be found in cocoa beans. At least you can take solace in knowing there are over 450,000 milligrams in a pound, so that’s a very small fraction. Additionally, you’re only allowed a single rodent hair per 100 grams. That’s comforting—I guess. Want to be grossed out even more? The FDA has a pretty lax upper limit on insect pieces: 60 insect pieces per 100 grams of chocolate. Apparently, an average chocolate bar contains 8 insect parts. Yuck. Part of this gross fact makes sense, though, since cocoa beans are harvested and then fermented on-site outside in large wooden vats.


Your Sugar-Free Chocolate Can Be a Laxative

bathroom stall

Think you’re safe having just one more of those sugar-free chocolates? Think again. Because chocolate is already high in calories thanks to the energy-dense cocoa butter or vegetable oils added to emulsify the cacao solids into a creamy bar, many manufacturers opt to include zero-calorie sweeteners like maltitol. When eaten in excess (which can be likely when you think a food is “healthier” for you since it doesn’t have sugar), this sugar alcohol effectively acts as a laxative and can cause stomach pain, excessive internal gas, and flatulence. That just put a damper on your night.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section. If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Bloglovin’ :Amanda Explains It

Bumble Bizz: Amanda

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

 


Holiday Party Mistakes

Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy today with friends, family, good food, good company and really good alcohol (Just kidding about the alcohol) or if you are drinking here is a PSA: Don’t drink and drive and have a wonderful time.

I have decided that I would extend #blogmas until December 31st. I have been having so much fun and I enjoy seeing you all enjoying my #blogmas posts (In a non-creepy way). To catch up on the first 24 days of #blogmas all the links are provided in the #blogmas section

Today’s post is a fun little post that is very helpful for anyone that is thinking or is having a New Year’s Eve party. I wish these tips were around back in my party-throwing days. I hope these tips help you as much as I wished they helped me (I didn’t know about these tips back then).

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 25! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 22 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-24

*I realized that my #blogmas days had repeated tagged posts and that not every post was linked. I caught the mistake and fixed it. Every link should now be clickable and days 1-18 are now linked. If you are new to #blogmas you can catch up below.

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7 Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10 Blogmas Day 11 Blogmas Day 12 Blogmas Day 13 Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15  Blogmas Day 16 Blogmas Day 17 Blogmas Day 18  Blogmas Day 19 Blogmas Day 20 Blogmas Day 21 Blogmas Day 22 Blogmas Day 23 Blogmas Day 24


Getting a reservation at your favorite restaurant during the time-crunched weeks around Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas isn’t easy. Neither is ponying up the triple-digit (or more!) price tag of dinner—or the even higher cost of securing a private space. So hosting at home is the perfect solution, right? You bet, as long as you avoid these common holiday party mistakes along the way.

You forget to schedule in advance

Weekly planner with pen and camera

In today’s crazy world of calendars in the cloud and emails on your wrist, we all seem to be so busy and stretched so thin. When planning for any event, I like to give a six-week runway. By that, I mean invitations and all event planning would ideally begin six weeks before the gathering (If you have the time).

Once you’ve distributed the initial invitation via Paperless Postor Evite, set a calendar event to ping attendees with reminders three weeks out (“get excited!”) and one week out (“don’t forget…”) to keep things top of mind.


You skip the to-do list

Shopping list

Streamline the pre-event prep and avoid forgetting any important details by creating a to-do list:

  • Items to purchase (groceries, flowers)
  • Items that need to be dug out of storage or borrowed (vases, extra chairs)
  • Items to clean (bathrooms, silverware)
  • Items to accomplish before guests arrive (lighting candles, whipping the cream)

You Dismiss The Easiest Decorations

Holiday table set-up

While you’re digging out the “musts” from storage, keep your eyes peeled for easy, affordable accents. That’s right: You DON’T need to drop $30+ per bouquet to dress up your space. Small details like a bowl full of ornaments or vase stuffed full of eucalyptus can make a big impact.

Cut down on prep time and save money by choosing candles in lieu of a lot of flowers. They take less time to arrange and display as decor but they still make a splash.


You discount the benefits of online shopping

Party favors

Stop schlepping bags around town and start hitting the easy “buy now” button on your laptop.

From invitations to favors or custom pillows for the party, shopping online cuts back on time in traffic and allows for easy price comparisons. I love ordering custom party details from companies like Shutterfly. I’m also a big fan of Amazon Prime since purchases usually arrive on my doorstep within 48 hours.


You Don’t Plan Ahead For Drop-in Guests

Unexpected guests

A friend of a friend who just got dumped needs a pick-me-up. A new Tinder plus-one. A random neighbor who sees the crowds piling in. An unexpected guest is almost par for the course these days, so plan ahead for a couple extra servings of everything just in case.


You Run Out Of Spirits

Drinks

Happy hour can turn less-than-happy in a hurry if your bar runs dry.

You know your crowd better than anyone. However, in the events world, It’s estimated half a bottle of wine per person at a sit-down dinner and one cocktail per person per hour at less formal affairs. Calculate accordingly based on your menu and the time frame of your party.


You Forget The Bubbly

Champagne

If a party is thrown during the holidays and there isn’t sparkling wine involved, is it really a party?  Plus, since it’s fairly light on the alcohol-per-serving scale (generally about 12 percent, compared to 22 percent in a Long Island Iced Tea), it’s a smart choice to bring a just-right level of cheer.


You Don’t Cook Enough Food

Antipasto plate

Pound for pound, people can throw down come dinnertime.

Estimate that each adult will consume one pound of food each,” Perotti says. For bone-in proteins, such as turkey, spiral ham, or pork crown roast, purchase 1 ½ pound per person to allow for ample portions because the bones take up some of the weight.


You Attempt A New Recipe

New recipe

Practice, practice, practice. It can be tempting to tear out that trendy recipe from the latest glossy food magazine, but stick to tried-and-true options for larger gatherings to keep #kitchenfails to a minimum. Practice these Pinterest favorites, then add your winners to the menu.


You Forget To Ask About Dietary Restrictions

Friends seated around table

About one in five people have a food allergy or intolerance. Ensure there are eats for everyone by including a simple questionnaire with the RSVP. Feel free to keep it light-hearted so it doesn’t sound like you’re bothered by their bill of fare.

Try something like: I love tailoring the menu to your taste! So check the box if you’re steering clear of…

  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Anything that comes from an animal”

You Rush

Woman talking at party

Don’t go from 0 to 100 miles per hour with your party pace.

I really enjoy spending time with my friends and family, so maximizing catch-up time is crucial. I love having about an hour or so of cocktails and appetizers at the beginning to give everyone plenty of time to get in from the cold, get comfortable with the mix of guests, and begin to let their hair down.


You Ignore The Vibe For The Seating Arrangements

Holiday place cards

The way you set the spread sets the pace for the formality level of your feast. For a less formal, family-style meal, don’t assign seats, but let it be organic.


You Ignore The Aroma

Pumpkin spice latte

Candles trigger a cozy vibe, but their aroma usually stays corralled within a room or two. Pipe seasonal scents throughout your whole home (in an all-natural, affordable way) by filling a stock pot with water and these kitchen staples:

Mint Candy: Vanilla beans + peppermint essential oil
Apple Pie: Apples + cinnamon sticks + lemons
Pumpkin Spice Latte: Vanilla beans + pumpkin pie spice + espresso powder
Fresh and Festive: Rosemary + cranberries + orange


You don’t know your limits

Woman stressed

 

So what if your table decor doesn’t look Martha Stewart–fancy or your turkey wouldn’t fit the classic Norman Rockwell scene. Keep the end goal in mind.

Remember that entertaining is just that: entertainment. You should enjoy it as much as your guests. Don’t take on more than you can, and do what feels authentic. Your friends and family will be impressed with whatever you plan. And if they aren’t, then don’t invite them back! Kidding. Kind of.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

 

 

The Best Candy Canes

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 21! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 20 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-20

*I realized that my #blogmas days had repeated tagged posts and that not every post was linked. I caught the mistake and fixed it. Every link should now be clickable and days 1-18 are now linked. If you are new to #blogmas you can catch up below.

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7 Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10 Blogmas Day 11 Blogmas Day 12 Blogmas Day 13 Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15  Blogmas Day 16 Blogmas Day 17 Blogmas Day 18  Blogmas Day 19 Blogmas Day 20

 

BOB’S CHERRY RAINBOW CANDY CANES

BOBS CHERRY RAINBOW CANDY CANES

PER 1 PIECE: 50 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 0 g protein

My “worst best” candy cane are these Bob’s Cherry Rainbow Candy Canes with 50 calories and 11 grams of sugar per cane. Founded by Bob McCormack, Bob’s Candies were the first manufacturers to wrap candy in cellophane. It’s no wonder with their colorful appeal and, consequently, several color dyes and artificial flavors.


SPANGLER PEPPERMINT CANDY CANES

Product - Spangler R&W Candy Canes 6-18 ct cradles

PER 1 PIECE: 50 calories, 0 fat, (0 saturated fat), 0 mg of sodium, 12 g carbs, 10 g sugar. Some nutritional facts are not present on their website.

Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, “Natural Flavors”, Color Added (Includes Red  40)


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

PER 1 PIECE: 55 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 0 g protein

Spangler’s Peppermint Candy Canes contain few ingredients, which means they contain less artificial stuff. However, despite their name, the only thing peppermint about them is, well…fake.


JOYBRITE PEPPERMINT CANDY CANES

PER 1 PIECE: 50 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 0 g protein

We are thrilled to see peppermint oil listed as an ingredient in this holiday staple. Mint offers a plethora of health benefits including, aiding weight loss, fighting cancer-causing free radicals, settling an upset stomach, reducing pain and even improving brain function.


BOB’S RED AND WHITE PEPPERMINT CANDY CANES

BOBS RED AND WHITE PEPPERMINT CANDY CANES

PER 1 PIECE: 40 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (0 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 0 g protein

Despite Bob’s Cherry variety, these traditional canes contain the real thing (mint), along with four other ingredients. Plus they’ve got just 10 grams of sugar.

 


 THE #1 BEST CHRISTMAS CANDY CANE IS… BOB’S MINI PEPPERMINT CANDY CANES

BOBS MINI PEPPERMINT CANDY CANES

PER 3 PIECES: 50 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (0 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 0 g protein

With the same ingredients and nutrition as Bob’s regular sized Red and White Peppermint Candy Cane, I chose these minis are the best Christmas candy cane because you can indulge in one or two of them for under 50 calories and 10 grams of sugar.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

 

How To Use Leftover Candy Canes

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 20! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 18 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-19

*I realized that my #blogmas days had repeated tagged posts and that not every post was linked. I caught the mistake and fixed it. Every link should now be clickable and days 1-18 are now linked. If you are new to #blogmas you can catch up below.

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7 Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10 Blogmas Day 11 Blogmas Day 12 Blogmas Day 13 Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15  Blogmas Day 16 Blogmas Day 17 Blogmas Day 18  Blogmas Day 19


Twinkling lights, the smell of Christmas trees, and Winter Cocktails are among the most welcomed delights of the season,(Besides all the good holiday related junk food) 🙂 Oh, and let’s not forget candy canes—who doesn’t love,  love those! Which is why we stock up on the stuff the one time each year every store seems to carry them. But buying 10+ boxes of the minty, sweet treat has a downside: the leftovers ( you would only have that many boxes if you put candy canes on your Christmas tree)? There are often buckets worth—even after they’ve been hung on the tree, stuffed in everyone’s stocking, and fastened to all of your holiday cards. Sound like your yearly struggle? Rest easy; I’ve got you covered with some great candy cane crafts and recipes.


Spike Your Whipped Cream With It

Whipped cream

Shutterstock

Whether you’re dolloping it over fruit, a bowl of ice cream, or into your latte, whipped cream can benefit from a minty makeover. Whip your own cream and sprinkle the swirled candy bits at the end before using it as a creamy topping.


Make Candy Cane Pops

Candy cane oreo pops

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Insert decorative sticks into Oreo creme, dip the Oreo into melted white chocolate, and then coat with crushed candy canes for the perfect holiday treat you haven’t thought of making yet. The subtle vanilla flavor of the cookie met with the refreshing zing of peppermint will make a sweet snack the whole gang will love.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


 No-Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Truffles

Chocolate candy cane truffles

Courtesy of Your Cup of Cake

Use leftover candy canes by crafting decadent truffles dusted with the wintry sweet. This recipe starts with cream cheese, peppermint extract, and chocolate base before it’s refrigerated until set and then rolled in the crushed candies for added color and flavor. You can even wrap these cute little treats in cellophane and gift to your best pals.

Get the recipe from Your Cup of Cake.


Make Minty Marshmallows

Marshmallows in a bowl

Shutterstock

You’ll need to top off your hot cocoa with a giant marshmallow, but why settle for store-bought when you can easily make your own? Start with food genius Alton Brown’s marshmallow recipe on Food Network, and then dust the crushed candy canes on top of the ‘mallows before cutting them into perfect squares. You can even gift leftovers to friends and family.


Napkin Holders

Candy cane on plate

Shutterstock

Rather than opting for your usual holiday napkin rings, use twisted candy canes instead. If you have any leftover candies that are still intact, try hooking the arch over the middle of a rolled-up napkin before placing on your holiday table for some festive flair.


Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes

Chocolate candy cake cupcake

Courtesy of Your Cup of Cake

All you need is a quick devil’s food cake mix and a few other pantry staples to create a rich chocolate cupcake that serves as a perfect base to peppermint frosting. Psst: the frosting is 100 percent homemade, so you know it’ll be just as delicious on its own as over the cupcake. This recipe calls for adorning the frosting with crushed candy canes for a delectable and decorative twist.

Get the recipe from Your Cup of Cake.


 Chocolate Snowflake Candy Canes

Chocolate snowflake candy canes

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Got some extra candy canes that aren’t broken? Continue ringing in Christmas spirit by whipping up these white chocolate snowflake candy canes. All you have to do is dip half of the candy cane stick into a mixture of white chocolate chips and shortening before sprinkling over some white pearl and snowflake sprinkles and allowing them to cool and harden. Yum!

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


Craft Candy Cane Oreo Pudding Cups

Candy cane oreo pudding cups

Courtesy of Lil Luna

These cute little pudding cups are perfect for entertaining or a cozy night in. All you need is a white chocolate pudding mix, candy cane Oreos, candy cane bits, and Cool Whip. Then, you layer all of your ingredients into mini cups and voila!

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.


 Bath Scrub

candy cane scrub

Shutterstock

Instead of eating your leftovers, use them to make a candy cane-infused scrub. To make a batch, pour four cups of white sugar, one cup of olive oil (or another non-comedogenic oil with a similar consistency), a few drops of peppermint essential oil, and a quarter cup of finely ground candy canes into a mixing bowl. Then stir it up!


Bake Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Peppermint sugar cookies

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Sugar cookies are great on their own, but any tried-and-true classic can use a little makeover from time to time. These sugar cookies benefit from a thick vanilla frosting that’s bejeweled with candy cane pieces.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.


Bake Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint brownies

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Everyone (well, almost) loves the combo of mint and chocolate, and these peppermint brownies embrace the duo to the fullest extent. Warm, fudgy brownies are met with an invigorating crushed candy topping that adds crunch and texture.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


Reindeer Ears on Cookies

Candy canes in glass

Shutterstock

Nothing marks the beginning of the holiday season better than the grocery store invasion of peppermint-themed treats. That’s why we’re loving the idea of decorating homemade holiday desserts with the candy.


 Candy Cane Soap

candy cane soap

Shutterstock

In the mood to channel your inner Martha Stewart? Whip up some homemade candy cane soap! (It’s easy to make—promise!) Start by melting a block of clear glycerin and a block of white glycerin in separate bowls. Then, mix in red food dye and peppermint essential oil into the clear glycerin. (A few drops of each work.) After that, pour a thin layer of the melted white glycerin into a cake mold or small pan and let it sit for about two to three minutes. After it’s somewhat solid, pour a layer of the red glycerin on top and then continue alternating with the red and white glycerin every few minutes until the mold or pan is filled. Then top off your soap with a generous coating of crushed candy cane, which is a great exfoliant.


Throw Back a Candy Cane Cocktail

Shutterstock

If you’re looking to up your bartending game, forgo serving up basic drinks like spiked eggnog and opt for surprising your guests with a round of candy cane vodka shots. Luckily, you only need three things to prepare this festive elixir: candy canes, a small bottle of vodka (about 25 ounces), and a coffee grinder or food processor. Here’s what you need to do: grind 12 candy canes until they’re eroded into superfine crystals. Then, pour the candy powder into the bottle of vodka, make sure the cap is tightly screwed, and shake away! (You can even save some of the crushed candy to rim the glasses with later on!) Then, let the vodka sit for a half hour, shaking every now and then. Once the liquid is candy-cane-red, serve it up in shot glasses or a sleek martini glass.


Peppermint Hot Cocoa

candy cane hot cocoa

Shutterstock

This winter, spruce up your favorite hot beverage with some minty goodness! To make a mug of decadent hot cocoa, add one cup of your milk of choice into a saucepan with two ounces bittersweet chocolate, and simmer over low heat. Once the chocolate is melted, add one tablespoon sugar and a ½ teaspoon peppermint extract to the pot and stir. Once it’s all dissolved, pour it into your fave mug, swirl on some whipped cream, and then garnish the top with crushed candy canes. If you prefer taking the easier route with premade hot cocoa mix, choose my best Hot Chocolate.


 Peppermint Popcorn

peppermint bark popcorn

Courtesy of Cooking Classy

What’s better than binge-watching all of the Home Alone movies in one sitting? The answer: having a big bowl of peppermint popcorn beside you! Spike your popped kernels with a layer of melted white chocolate and some candy cane crumble. Oh, and you might want to whip up an extra batch because you’re totally not going to want to share this!

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy


Crack Fudge Peppermint Bark

peppermint bark

Shutterstock

Give your gingerbread cookie and peanut butter blossom recipes a break, and concoct a batch of crunchy peppermint bark instead. The best part—aside from the taste? It’s beyond easy to make. All you have to do is melt dark chocolate, slather it onto a sheet of parchment paper, and let it solidify in the fridge. Once it’s hardened, drizzle on a layer of melted white chocolate and then drop a handful or two (or three… no one’s looking!) of candy cane chunks for fresh flavor and a festive pop of color. Easy peasy!


Try Pink Peppermint Bark Macarons

Pink peppermint bark macarons

Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

Besides croissants, macarons are the next best thing the French bestowed on us. Give your favorite fancy dessert a wintry twist by adding crushed candy canes into the creamy ganache.

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.


Rim Glasses With Candy Canes

Green holiday cocktail

Shutterstock

Remember that martini we suggested shaking up and that hot cocoa recipe you jotted on your list? Well, if these two beverages have anything in common, it’s that you can easily jazz them up by rimming the glass or mug with crushed candy canes. Just pulverize the candies in the blender, use your finger to coat the rim with a syrup (like maple syrup) and dip into the crushed candy.


Scoop Into Homemade Nice Cream

candy-cane-ice-cream

Shutterstock

Adapt your favorite nice cream recipe into a delicious, holiday-approved dessert by sprinkling crushed candy canes into the blender. Whether you choose to go with banana and cocoa mix or a traditional vanilla bean dessert, you’ll want to scoop it into a cone and toss some candy canes on top for a refreshing twist on rainbow sprinkles.


Bake Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Death by chocolate peppermint cookies

Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

If you love devil’s food cake, you’re gonna love this recipe idea. All you have to do is bake up a decadent chocolate cookie, dip it in dark chocolate, sprinkle it with some crushed peppermint candies, and drizzle with white chocolate. The minty peppermint will help cut the richness of the dark chocolate.

Get the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.


Make Homemade Thin Mints

Peppermint bark cookies

Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

Instead of unwrapping a thin mint, try DIYing your own this holiday season. The chocolate sugar cookies are super easy to make, and they come out of the oven extra thick while the white chocolate coating gets a double dose of peppermint from the extract and crushed candies.

Get the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.


Make a Minty Milkshake

Candy cane chocolate milkshake

Shutterstock

Got a tub of vanilla ice cream, milk, and leftover candy canes? Blend the three ingredients into the best milkshake ever. You can even add some unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolatey boost and garnish the cup with a mint leaf. Mmm!


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.

Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

The Best Christmas Products That Come Out Every Year

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 19! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 18 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-18

*I realized that my #blogmas days had repeated tagged posts and that not every post was linked. I caught the mistake and fixed it. Every link should now be clickable and days 1-18 are now linked. If you are new to #blogmas you can catch up below.

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7 Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10 Blogmas Day 11 Blogmas Day 12 Blogmas Day 13 Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15  Blogmas Day 16 Blogmas Day 17 Blogmas Day 18

 


Just because you can’t always bring yourself to say “no” to the limited-edition gingerbread cookies and holiday candy you see at the store, it doesn’t mean your belly must start resembling Santa’s. It’s totally possible to get in the spirit of the season while maintaining your trim waistline; you just need to know which packages to grab and which ones to leave at the grocery store.

Since no one wants to spend time reading nutrition panels in the supermarket’s overcrowded holiday section (seriously, it’s a scary place to linger), I’ve done all of the research for you. Commit some of my top picks to memory so you can get in and out of the store unscathed. Or better yet, snag them online!


LÄRABAR Snickerdoodle & Gingerbread

 

Nutrition: 1 bar, 190 calories 8-9 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0-30 mg sodium, 25 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 17-18 g sugar, 4 g protein

Thanks to Larabar, you can finally indulge in your favorite holiday cookie flavors without a massive sugar rush. While there are 17 to 18 grams of the sweet stuff per bar, the sugar is all the naturally occurring kind from things like dates and raisins. Plus, these things are beyond tasty—nab ‘em while you still can!


Birch Benders Gingerbread Spice Pancake Mix

 

Nutrition: 1/4 cup mix (two 4” pancakes), 120 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 390 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 3 g protein

While this ginger-infused pancake mix is a bit high in sugar, thanks to the addition of cassava starch there’s a bit fiber and protein, too. To even the fiber to sugar ratio a bit further, go light on the syrup and top your hotcakes with finely chopped pecans or walnuts and enjoy a scrambled egg or two on the side.


Goldfish Fun Holiday Colors Baked Cheddar Crackers

 

Nutrition: 55 pieces, 140 calories 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 240 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 1 g fiber, <1 g sugar, 3 g protein

While these cute little crackers don’t offer much in terms of nutrition, they won’t do your body much harm, either. To give their tiny fish their vibrant holiday hues, Pepperidge Farms used things like turmeric extract and watermelon juice concentrate—not chemicals. With that in mind, this is definitely a salty snack that gets the green light. To boost its staying power of your snack, mix the fishies with some raw nuts and pair the mixture with a small piece of fibrous fruit.


KIND Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spice

Nutrition: 1 bar, 200 calories, 15 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 5 g protein

With so many delicious, low sugar bars on their roster, it’s easy to see why—and this seasonal snack is no exception. Flavors of hazelnuts, cashews, chocolate, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon join together to create a snack bar that will delight your taste buds while fueling your body right. Get a box for you and a second one to use as healthy stocking stuffers. The gift of health is one that everyone on your list is sure to love.


Enjoy Life Foods Gingerbread Spice Cookies

Nutrition: 2 cookies, 120 calories, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 95 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 1 g protein

The healthiest gingerbread you’ll have this season will likely be homemade. But in the packaged food realm, these come pretty darn close. Despite the fact that most of these cookies are filled with sugar (as is the case with almost every cookie), they still have less than 5 grams of the sweet stuff a pop—which is pretty impressive. I also love that Enjoy Life uses ingredients like millet and buckwheat flour to sneak in a bit of nutrition.


Tic Tac Christmas Candy Cane

Nutrition: 1 piece, 1.9 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein

Since you have to constantly chomp, gum can make your tummy bloat. I  rely on mints to freshen my breath. These super-cute candy cane Tic Tacs are sure to brighten your day and your smile every time you pop one into your mouth. And for less than 2 calories each, they can’t be beat—so long as you don’t down too many at once, at least.


BoomChickaPop White Chocolate Peppermint

Nutrition: 1 1/4 cup, 140 calories, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 75 mg sodium 18 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 1 g protein

Compared to things like candy and cookies, this peppermint and chocolate topped popcorn isn’t half bad. And the divine flavor makes it totally worth its not-exactly-low sugar count. This is definitely a must-try but probably not something you want to go back for seconds of.


Walkers Shortbread Festive Shapes Pure Butter Cookies

Nutrition: 2 pieces, 150 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 85 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 2 g protein

The only things that go into these low-sugar cookies are wheat flour, butter, sugar, and salt making them an obvious Eat This!


Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea

Nutrition: 1 tea bag, 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein

The only thing better than a cup of belly fat-incinerating Tea? One that’s infused with orange peel, peppermint, cinnamon, and vanilla bean, that’s what! The super cute box is definitely a bonus, too. Just look at those bears hard at work in Santa’s workshop!


Califia Farms Pure Almond Milk Egg Nog

Nutrition: 4 fl oz, 50 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 90 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 1 g protein

 It does have about fifty percent fewer calories than the typical eggnog, I can’t deny that eggnog in general just isn’t a great pick. Sip it if you must, but know that you’re better off eating your calories than sipping them.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.

Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

Worst Christmas Products That Come Out Every Year

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 16! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 15 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-15

Blogmas Day 1Blogmas Day 2Blogmas Day 3Blogmas Day 4Blogmas Day 5Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7  Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10  Blogmas Day 11  Blogmas Day 12   Blogmas Day 13 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15 (Very Popular) Blogmas Day 15


Thomas’ Cranberry Swirl Bread

Tomas’ Cranberry Swirl bread

Nutrition: 1 slice, 130 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 200 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 3 g protein

A slice of sprouted grain bread has about 80 calories so we’re not quite sure how Thomas managed to shove 130 big ones into this fancy bread of his. There are so many better ways to spend all those calories. Wouldn’t you rather eat a cookie or maybe a big spoonful of almond butter?


Coffee-Mate Peppermint Mocha Liquid Creamer

coffee-mate peppermint mocha liquid creamer

Nutrition: 1 tbsp, 35 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5 mg sodium, 5 g sugar, 5 g carbs, 0 g protein

While generally speaking, coffee creamers have recently started to clean up their act, the same can’t be said for all of the limited-edition flavors. This peppermint mocha creamer, for example, is made with artery-clogging hydrogenated soybean oil (despite the fact that it claims to be trans-fat free) and stomach-irritating carrageenan. If you’re looking for a delicious holiday-themed way to flavor your coffee consider pouring something from Coffee-Mate’s Natural Bliss line instead. The cinnamon cream flavor is downright delicious and the pumpkin spice bottle is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas time.


Cadbury Holiday Candy Coated Solid Milk Chocolate Snowballs

cadbury holiday candy coated solid milk chocolate snowballs

Nutrition: 16 pieces, 190 calories, 8 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 35 mg sodium, 28 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 27 g sugar, 3 g protein

Anyone who’s had the Easter version of these bad boys knows that they’re impossible to stop eating once you’ve started. And with an entire day’s worth of sugar in a single serving (not to mention tons of potentially dangerous additives), these treats can lead your belly down a slippery slope.


Swiss Miss Candy Cane with Peppermint Marshmallows

swiss miss candy cane with peppermint marshmallows

Nutrition: 1 envelope, 80 calories, 1 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 105 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, < 1 g fiber, 12 g sugar, < 1 g protein

This isn’t the worst hot cocoa we’ve ever seen but it’s also far from the best. If you want to indulge in a cup of peppermint-flavored hot cocoa this season.


Peeps Hot Cocoa & Cream Marshmallow Chicks in White Fudge

peeps hot cocoa & cream marshmallow chicks in white fudge

Nutrition: 3 chicks, 150 calories, 3.5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 35 mg sodium, 30 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 27 g sugar, 1 g protein

The bulk of these Peeps are comprised of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin, so are you really that surprised to learn that they’re on the Not That!


Archer Farms Rudolph’s Mix

Nutrition: 1 package, 270 calories, 13 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 38 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 26 g sugar, 4 g protein

Everything from hydrogenated oil to a rainbow of potentially dangerous food colorings seems to have found its way into this trail mix. If you don’t want to blow an entire day’s worth of sugar on a snack that offers next to no nutrition, you’ll definitely want to steer clear. If you really feel the need to dig in, at least diminish the damage a bit by mixing the snack with an equal amount of raw, unsalted nuts and dividing it into three or four servings.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

The Best Christmas Chocolate

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 15! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 15 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-15

Blogmas Day 1Blogmas Day 2Blogmas Day 3Blogmas Day 4Blogmas Day 5Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7  Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10  Blogmas Day 11  Blogmas Day 12   Blogmas Day 13 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15 (Very Popular)

To be ranked a “best” Christmas chocolate, you had to be under 21 grams of sugar—the sweet stuff’s been linked to weight gain, as well as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. While calories and fat also factored into our rankings, having more natural ingredients (and fewer ingredients, at that), earned certain chocolates that may have had higher calorie and fat counts more points. Having more quality calories will benefit you far more than fewer calories loaded with artificial additives, especially when those calories are from antioxidant-rich cocoa.


REESE’S SNOWMAN

REESES SNOWMAN

PER ¼ SNOWMAN (35 G): 180 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (1 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 3 g protein

Reese’s lovers rejoice—although Reese’s Bells got axed from the Nice List, there’s two ETNT approved holiday varieties. The first is this Reese’s Snowman, which is free of trans fats and nutritionally superior to the Bells (when you eat ¼ of the Snowman that is—that’s the serving size, and stick to it).


REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER TREES

REESES PEANUT BUTTER TREES

PER 2 PIECES: 170 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 4 g protein

And your best Reese’s option is… these Reese’s Trees! You can indulge in one for just 90 calories, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of sugar!


LINDT MILK CHOCOLATE SNOWMEN

LINDT MILK CHOCOLATE SNOWMEN

PER 4 PIECES: 220 calories, 15 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 3 g protein

If you’re one of those people who love giving oversized holiday-shaped chocolates as presents, try downsizing it this year. These mini Lindt Milk Chocolate Snowmen are just 55 calories a piece. Whether or not the recipient decides to eat the full serving is up to them, but at least the nutrition comes from quality ingredients. 


GOLD EMBLEM CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS

GOLD EMBLEM CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS

PER ⅓ CUP (38 G): 200 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 2 g protein

Despite a lengthy ingredient list, these Chocolate Covered Pretzels are low in calories and won’t tap out your fat and sugar banks. They’re the perfect treat for any salty and sweet fan.


GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK

GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK

PER 3 PIECES: 190 calories, 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein

Peppermint bark may be a festive holiday staple, but unless you can limit yourself to just a square or two, it’s a slippery slope–especially if you’re trying to survive the holidays without love handles. Just three squares have nearly as many calories as an entire bag of Reese’s Pieces and an extra gram of saturated fat.


KIT KAT MINT MINIATURES

KIT KAT MINT MINIATURES

PER 5 PIECES (43 G): 210 calories, 12 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (2 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein

Take a break from shopping with one of these Kit Kat Mint Miniatures. They pop right into your mouth and contain peppermint oil, a weight loss superfoods. In fact, researchers conclude that by adding mint to your diet, more of the fat you consume will be metabolized, as opposed to steadily making your pants tighter.


HERSHEY’S MILK CHOCOLATE SANTA

HERSHEYS MILK CHOCOLATE SANTAS

PER 1 BAR (34 G): 170 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein

Not a fan of mini? Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Santa is perfectly portioned so that you can indulge with boundaries.


GHIRARDELLI HOLIDAY IMPRESSIONS CHOCOLATE MILK & DARK

GHIRARDELLI HOLIDAY IMPRESSIONS CHOCOLATE MILK AND DARK

PER 3 SQUARES (39 G): 210 calories, 12 g fat (7.5 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 3 g protein

Although we have listed the nutritional profile of three Ghirardelli Holiday Impression squares in order to keep our comparisons uniform, the actual packing serving size is only 1 square. If you have the self-control, that’s just 70 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 7 grams of sugar per individually wrapped square.


GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK WITH DARK CHOCOLATE

GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK WITH DARK CHOCOLATE

PER 3 SQUARES (39 G): 200 calories, 15 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (2 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein

You already know that peppermint is a lethal weight loss weapon, but did you know that chocolate can actually help you burn fat? Chocolate boasts powerful natural chemicals called flavanols that have been found to help lower blood sugar and also decrease body fat, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


RUSSELL STOVER CARAMEL SANTA

 

PER 1 PIECE: 160 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 1 g protein

I doubt Russell and Clara Stover were making these caramel Santas when they began their candy business in their home in Denver, Colorado in 1923. However, they’ve become a popular festive treat that would earn Mrs. Claus’ approval.


THEO DARK CHOCOLATE NUTCRACKER TOFFEE

THEO DARK CHOCOLATE NUTCRACKER TOFFEE

PER ½ BAR: 210 calories, 15 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (3 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 3 g protein

This Dark Chocolate Nutcracker Toffee bar is made with organic, wholesome ingredients—aka food that was not made in a lab. According to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, regularly consuming small amounts of high-quality chocolate fights stress that can lead to weight gain.


RUSSELL STOVER MARSHMALLOW SANTA

RUSSELL STOVER MARSHMALLOW SANTA

PER 1 PIECE: 100 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 18 g carbs (14 g sugar)(all other nutritionals unavailable)

Your best Santa chocolate bar option is this Russell Stover Marshmallow Santa. It’s just 100 calories and has just 14 grams of sugar. Plus, marshmallow and chocolate? No brainer.


THE #1 CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE IS… MADELAINE CHOCOLATE COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS CALENDAR

MADELAINE CHOCOLATE COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS CALENDAR

PER 1 PIECE: 50 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 1 g protein

It’s rather fitting that at the top of my Nice Chocolate List is this Chocolate Countdown to Christmas Calendar. Each window reveals a 50 calorie milk chocolate wrapped like a Christmas present. It seems a little counterintuitive, but to really take control over your cravings you’ve got to indulge in them—slowly, one day at a time! And to blast even more belly fat, pair the cup with a cup of Tea. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells). The tea’s combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) seems to set fat cells up for defeat.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

The Worst Holiday Chocolates

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 15! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 13 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-14

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6  Blogmas Day 7  Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10  Blogmas Day 11  Blogmas Day 12   Blogmas Day 13 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14


All year long I eat healthily, and then Christmas comes along and I turn into a candy-loving kid again.  I’m like how you would say?  A reverse Santa Claus. He stuffs kids’ stockings. I unstuff them—and then stuff my mouth.

Even those of us who don’t often eat candy find it hard to resist the minty, chocolatey goodness of the holidays, forgetting all about our plans for rapid weight loss. (Get me near a tin of chocolate bark and we turn into a woodchuck.)

But candy is unique in its ability to make us fat. Because it’s so high in sugar and devoid of fiber, candy gives us a much faster sugar rush than any food found in nature. As a result, our bodies can often overreact, pumping out more of the sugar-management hormone insulin than we need. Then two things happen, neither of them good: First, insulin grabs all of that sugar and looks for someplace to store it, most often as belly fat. And second, by stealing too much sugar from our systems, it creates a sugar crash: a sort of hunger rebound that sends us back to the party try for more chocolate bark.

So instead of going all Grinch on you, I took a hard look at the nutritional info on every sort of Christmas candy that might be rolling down your chimney this year and ranked them best to worst (comparing the nutritional profiles and quality of ingredients to equivalent serving sizes). Now, when you reach into the kids’ stockings, you’ll know you’re setting yourself up for a Merry Christmas, not a flabby New Year.


HOLIDAY CHOCOLATES

As a general rule avoid anything that’s labeled “made with chocolate,” “chocolaty,” or “chocolate-coated,” which indicate the presence of partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, harmful dyes like Yellow #5 and Red #40 and artificial flavoring. Cocoa’s waist-whittling effects do not extend to the fake stuff.


FIRST… THE WORST

REESE’S BELLS

Reeses bells candy

PER 4 CANDIES (38 G): 190 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 3 g protein

Reese’s Bells, Reese’s Bells, Reese’s not all the way. Although there are a few on my Nice List, these guys are definitely naughty. Anything listed with partially hydrogenated oils AKA trans fat, which have been banned by the FDA, is a no-go.


DOVE PEPPERMINT BARK DARK CHOCOLATE SQUARES

DOVE PEPPERMINT BARK DARK CHOCOLATE SQUARES

PER 4 PIECES (40 G): 210 calories, 13 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (2 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 2 g protein

Although Dove advertises this product as a bark, there really just artificial dark chocolate bite squares. Even more disappointing is the presence of trans fat. Did I mention the first ingredient is sugar?


DOVE SILKY SMOOTH SNOWFLAKE PROMISES CHOCOLATE ASSORTMENT

DOVE SNOWFLAKE PROMISES CHOCOLATE ASSORTMENT

PER 5 PIECES: 200 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein

These Silky Smooth Snowflake Promises may be innocent when you eat just one, but after five you’re looking at 200 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat and 19 grams of sugar—that’s as much sugar as you’ll find in 10 Butterfinger BBs. And if you have any food allergies, avoid purchasing these snowflake chocolates at all costs. They’ve recently been recalled due to mysterious Snickers popping up inside their bags. If you’re a fan of the caramel nutty chocolate bars this may seem like a bonus, but for those suffering from any nut allergies, it should not be taken lightly.


KIT KAT HOLIDAY CANDY BARS

KIT KAT HOLIDAY CANDY BARS

PER 1 FOUR PIECE BAR: 210 calories, 11 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 3 g protein

Unwrap one of Kit Kat’s cutesy holiday wafers and you’ll find Santa smiling back at you. You’ll also find 22 grams of processed sugar and 7 grams of saturated fat. Don’t even think about having more than one, unless you own a big red suit.


CRUNCH JINGLES

CRUNCH JINGLES

PER 6 PIECES: 210 calories, 11 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (0 g fiber, 24 g sugar), 2 g protein

Sadly the only thing that will be ringing when you pop these bell-shaped candies into your mouth is your blood sugar alarm. This is jingle hell. To easily burn off any of these candies—without spending hours in the gym.


HERSHEY’S CANDY CANE KISSES

HERSHEYS CANDY CANE KISSES

PER 9 PIECES (42 G): 220 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 3 g protein

Hershey’s candy cane mint candies add antioxidant-rich and appetite-suppressing peppermint oil to the traditional milk chocolate kiss. But despite their potential weight loss ingredient, I can’t ignore the artificial dyes, words “artificial flavor” and corn syrup in their ingredient list (or the steep sugar and fat counts).


BRACH’S PEPPERMINT CHRISTMAS TREE NOUGATS

BRACHS PEPPERMINT CHRISTMAS TREE NOUGATS

PER 41 G: 160 calories, 3 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (0 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 0 g protein

Although these Nougats are super low in fat, their first ingredient is corn syrup, followed by sugar and several artificial dyes.


ANDES PEPPERMINT CRUNCH CANDY

ANDES PEPPERMINT CRUNCH CANDY

PER 4 PIECES: 200 calories, 12 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 2 g protein

“Andy’s Candies” was changed to “Andes Candies” after the chocolate’s creator discovered men were not too keen on giving their lovers candy with another man’s name on it. We’d avoid them for another reason: Just a few bites have more sugar than 10 jelly beans.


SEASONAL SWEETS MILK CHOCOLATE SANTAS

SEASONAL SWEETS MILK CHOCOLATE SANTAS

PER 6 PIECES: 220 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 26 g sugar)

Chocolate and Santa are both 100% kid approved and since they’re mini, your child (or you) can enjoy six—but try stick to three instead.


HOLIDAY MINT M&M’S

HOLIDAY MINT MMS

PER 1.5 OUNCES: 210 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 2 g protein

M&M’s might be tiny, but their ingredient list is far from it—they’re filled with over 10 different color dyes including Red 40 and Yellow 5. This is rather alarming considering Europe has required foods with artificial dyes contain warning labels since July 2010 as a result of the discovery that they may cause hyperactivity in children.


WHITE PEPPERMINT M&M’S

WHITE PEPPERMINT MMS

PER 1.5 OUNCES: 210 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (0 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 2 g protein

Meet White Peppermint, Mint M&M’s sibling. Peppermint has a nearly identical nutritional profile to Mint aside from one thing: With two more grams of fat and one more gram of saturated, it’s naughty, not nice.


GUITTARD SMOOTH ‘N MELTY CHRISTMAS MINTS

GUITTARD SMOOTH N MELTY CHRISTMAS MINTS

PER 7 PIECES: 200 calories, 10 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (0 g fiber, 28 g sugar), 1 g protein

With partially hydrogenated oil, bloating whey, and a slew of artificial dyes and flavors, these Melty Mints are worse than a lump of coal. Hydrogenated oils are detrimental to heart health and have been linked to both high cholesterol and inflammation. you’d be better off drinking a Coke.


FERRARA CHOCOLATE FRUIT BURST MILK CHOCOLATE ORANGE

FERRARA CHOCOLATE FRUIT BURST MILK CHOCOLATE ORANGE

PER 5 SLICES: 240 calories, 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 26 g sugar, 1 g protein

Unlike the citrusy fruit it’s named after, this is one orange that won’t help you lose weight. Thanks to whole milk powder and cocoa butter, it’s got 14 grams of fat (8 of which are saturated). That’s a lot of fat for only about ¼ of the chocolatey orange!


 THE #1 WORST CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE IS… A TIE!

CHRISTMAS JUNIOR MINTS

CHRISTMAS JUNIOR MINTS

PER 16 PIECES (40 G): 170 calories, 3 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 32 g sugar

JUNIOR MINTS PEPPERMINT CRUNCH

JUNIOR MINTS PEPPERMINT CRUNCH

PER 15 PIECES (40 G): 170 calories, 3.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 32 g sugar

Tied for the naughtiest chocolate, these two Junior Mint flavors are under 200 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving but boast a whopping 32 grams of sugar. Within 24 hours of eating added sugar, your body is flooded with elevated levels of triglycerides, which universally lead to one thing: belly fat.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

Christmas Quiz

Two posts in one day? Who am I ?! I wanted to do something fun. This is a Christmas Quiz. I gathered a bunch of questions about Christmas and I answered them. I’m curious to know what you’re answers are. You can always comment your answers on this post.


Blogmas Links Day 1-10

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6  Blogmas Day 7   Blogmas Day 9


What I love about Christmas is how everyone celebrates it in different ways. To give you a chance to find out a little about my traditions and my favorite things, I thought I would complete the legendary ‘Christmas Tag’. I found a few tags online Enjoy.


1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE/S?

I’m going to have to go with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I just love how Clark wanted Christmas to go right and it went all wrong ( I can relate trying to put together a perfect Christmas)I love the scene where Margo and Todd were talking about why the carpet is wet and Todd goes ” Something had to break the window, something had to break the stereo and Margo goes and “Why is the carpet all wet Todd?” and Todd says “I don’t know Margo”. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation ALWAYS has me in stitches! Some of the other movies I love is Home Alone, comfort and joy, and cheesy Netflix romantic holiday movies.


2. DO YOU OPEN YOUR PRESENTS ON CHRISTMAS EVE OR CHRISTMAS MORNING?

I’m going to have to go with option 3; Christmas Night. I know, it’s terrible but it’s not my fault. My sister always say why rush and get all the presets over with in the morning and spend the rest of the day being bored. I think it’s just an excuse for my sister not having to deal with my excitement for the entire day. Scrooge!


3. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A WHITE CHRISTMAS?

YES! It’s either snowed before or after Christmas and It’s even snowed on Christmas! I was young but I did experience it.


4. WHAT MADE YOU REALISE THE TRUTH ABOUT SANTA?

What truth about Santa? That he doesn’t actually climb down your chimney? I didn’t think he did. What would happen if he got stuck, no one would have got their presents. Obviously, I’m only joking… My parents never sat me down and told me he isn’t real, I caught them putting presents under the Christmas Tree when I think I was 7 or 8.


5. CAN YOU NAME ALL OF SANTA’S REINDEER?

Rudolph, Blitzen, Dasher, Vixen, Cupid, Dancer, Prancer… NO!.


6. WHAT IS YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE HOLIDAY FOOD/SWEET TREAT?

Anything that’s Christmas and sweet related will do fine by me! I love anything with peppermint in.


7. BE HONEST: DO YOU LIKE GIVING GIFTS OR RECEIVING GIFTS BETTER?

As we are being honest here, I love receiving them. Giving them isn’t too far behind though! I do love when you’ve found the perfect present for someone that they weren’t expecting, and they get all excited opening it. I do love being the one to open the presents a tad more though. It doesn’t make me a bad person (all though I do get shy when all eyes are on me when It’s my turn to open presents), we all enjoy that moment too.


8. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM PLACE TO VISIT FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON?

I could never imagine going anywhere warm for Christmas, but I really want to go to Disney World, Florida. I’ve been there during the summer, spring, and fall and I loved it, and I’ve seen a documentary about the Disney Christmas and it just looks so amazing. They have Christmas parades, a winter wonderland, Disney inspired food, all the shows, and performances. Can you just imagine the fireworks display!


9. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG?

There are so many I love but it has to be “Silent Night” by The Temptations!  Other songs I love to sing along to are “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey“All I want Is a real good tan” By Kenny Chesney as well as the more traditional songs such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”.


10. DO YOU MAKE NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS? DO YOU STICK TO THEM?

I keep them in my head so no one knows when I’ve not stuck to them, and I tend to forget so I never feel guilty. For next year I do want to do a sort of bucket list so it’s not changed I want to make in my life, but things I want to achieve. I think that makes them pro-active so I am more likely to complete them.


11. FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS SCENT?

I love the smell of peppermint, cinnamon, and roasted chestnuts. I am currently using the scent ‘Nutcracker’ by Yankee Candle which smells amazing!


12. AS A KID WHAT WAS THE ONE (CRAZY, WILD, EXTRAVAGANT) GIFT YOU ALWAYS ASKED FOR BUT NEVER RECEIVED?

I don’t really think I ever did. To be honest, I can’t really remember. I just used to ask for the standard toy that was popular that year. I think I’ve started to ask for more crazy presents as I’ve gotten older.


13. WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT CHRISTMAS FOR YOU?

I’m going to have to be a complete cliche and go with spending time with my family.  We don’t really do anything significant but just being in each others presence and playing games.