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Holiday Survival Guide: The Alice Rule


The holiday cookie tins. Peanut brittle. Christmas candy. Fudge in all flavors. And of course, the time-tested fruit cake.

The gift of food comes in all shapes, sizes, flavors and colors. It almost never comes with nutrition labels, ingredient lists or Weight Watchers PointsPlus values attached.

It also doesn’t come with a gift receipt for returns.

So how does a conscientious individual who’s trying to mind their waistline (not to mention their cholesterol, sodium and sugar intake) manage through this field of loving landmines?

One way is the Alice Rule…

The Alice Rule

When talking about trigger foods one afternoon, our quirky, kind and wonderful friend Alice made this observation:

“If you know you’re going to eat the entire bag of Oreos anyway, why not just eat them all at once? Then they’re not a problem anymore, and you’re not spending every day trying to fight the urge to eat the whole bag because you’ve already done it.”

She has a point. There’s a lot of relief in making trigger foods go away quickly – then they’re not calling my name anymore. Of course, I have to avoid bringing the Oreos into the house (again), but it’s a whole lot easier to leave them at the store than it is to leave them alone once they’re in the pantry.

In the holiday season, I’m not the problem. I don’t bring the sugar cookie goodies to my house. Other people do. And it is awfully tough to refuse them. Chances are somebody has worked pretty hard on creating these once-a-year confections, and they’re usually delectably deliciously incredible.

So, I like to apply a somewhat modified version of The Alice Rule for the mocha snowballs and caramel cookies and peppermint bark and pudding cakes and pecan pies that I adore:

Make these foods disappear quickly!

(but don’t eat them all myself)

Share the Holiday Cheer

Just like Halloween candy, wintertime treats are meant to be savored and shared.

Because, I don’t know about you, but I can’t eat just one fun size 100,000 Grand Bar at Halloween, and I also have a pretty hard time controlling myself around homemade chocolate chip and M&M Christmas cookies. If I don’t share them, I’ll end up in the corner with the cookie tin, going all feral.

Get your holiday treat giveaway spots scoped out and ready to go before those sugar bombs start rolling in the door. Some good options are:

(1) The Office – There are young men in my office building that I’m certain have a metabolism so high, they burn thousands of calorie just by breathing. Share a cup of coffee and piece of homemade candy with these fellas, then leave the rest for them to enjoy.

(2) The Teachers – There is a teachers lounge and plenty of holiday goodness in that cookie tin to go around.

(3) The Military – If you have a military base nearby, check to see if they might be accepting homemade goodness for care packages… and what the security requirements are.

(4) The Church – Groups at church may be gathering food treats to share with nursing homes, school groups or other organizations. Check and see if your donation may work for their needs. (Just be sure you don’t give back something that one of the ladies of the church baked for you!)

(5) The Party – If you’re getting invited to lots of holiday parties (and of course you are, you popular person, you!), ask if you can bring along some treats to share. Set them on a beautiful plate, set the plate on the food table then walk away and don’t look back.

(6) The Teenagers – Leave the goodies out when your teenagers’ friends come over. I can guarantee you that peppermint bark will be completely gone by the time your house is free of visitors.

(7) The Gym – Yes, sounds crazy. Except all those darn personal trainers and group exercise instructors can afford a piece of cake given the multiple workouts they do. And folks rarely remember to bring their Gym Staff treats for the holidays. You’ll get lots of lavish and genuine thanks, and it didn’t cost you a calorie to do it.

Don’t Forget to Take One For Yourself

In all of this excitement to share cheerful confections, don’t forget to try one for yourself. Someone special made those for you, and you should absolutely enjoy and savor that gift.

Best of all is if you can sit down and share a treat or two with a cup of something and some long overdue conversation with that loved one who baked for you. To me, those moments are the true gifts of the season.

Wishing you and yours a most awesomelicious day!


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