Sixty-three percent of Americans experience “food guilt” around the holidays, according to new research.
The holiday season is an opportunity for many to share delicious dishes and drinks with loved ones, but for some, the decadence can prove stressful.
A study of 2,000 Americans found that nearly half (47%) say that knowing they’ll be tempted by the unhealthy food on offer at family gatherings makes them anxious about these events.
Moreover, 48% say that the temptation of unhealthy foods is a bigger stressor for them than family dynamics or gift-giving.
Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Premier Protein to celebrate the launch of their new Cinnamon Roll protein shake, the survey also looked at the foods respondents said were their biggest temptations this time of year.
While the temptations of festive flavors come in many forms, a few categories prove particularly enticing.
When it comes to what they feel most guilty about consuming during the holidays, desserts (23%) and specialty seasonal food and beverages (14%) topped the list.
Among desserts, pumpkin pie (16%), apple pie (15%), sugar cookies (14%), cinnamon rolls (14%) and cherry pie (10%) were the top five.
Tempting indulgent drinks included hot chocolate (18%) and eggnog (18%).
When it came to seasonal flavors, chocolate, pumpkin, cinnamon and peppermint were among those that respondents designated as most tempting.
And while seven in 10 agree that it wouldn’t be the most wonderful time of the year without eating some unhealthy foods, 41% say that the holidays, and the food that comes with them, set them back in their health and wellness goals.
That’s all before considering the ways in which the 2020 holidays are likely to be different than past years.
Navigating the temptation of “season’s eatings” might prove more challenging this year, with 53% saying that after the particularly stressful year they’ve had due to COVID-19, they feel less motivated to make the healthy choices they usually would at family gatherings.
“There’s nothing like great taste and beloved holiday traditions to bring people together,” said Nick Stiritz, Director of Marketing, Premier Protein. “But enjoying these moments doesn’t have to mean derailing your health goals. Keeping great-tasting, nutritious options on hand is an easy way to stay on track this year – and even indulge in your favorite holiday craving, too.”
And respondents may also be cooking up new solutions to the challenges to making healthy choices that inevitably present themselves this time of year.
Reduced-guilt variations of holiday favorites are likely on the horizon, though, as four in 10 agreed, they would be open to healthier versions of classic seasonal dishes.
Nearly six in 10 agree that around the holidays, they often get so busy between shopping, family gatherings and other events that they just reach for whatever’s around when hungry.
Cookies (24%), candy (17%) and leftovers (17%) were among the top items respondents were most likely to reach for while on-to-go during the holiday season.
Yet 73% say that, this year more than ever, it’s important to be properly fueled and well-rested in order to help avoid getting sick.
The survey also revealed the memories that respondents associated with classic holiday foods – likely a contributing factor to how difficult to resist they are this time of year.
The smell of turkey cooking all day on Thanksgiving (32%), making holiday cookies with friends or family (22%) and waking up to the smell of cinnamon rolls on Christmas or Thanksgiving morning (16%) were among the most common festive food-related memories.
“We all deserve a little indulgence, especially during the holidays, and that’s the mindset we have when crafting our 30g ready-to-drink protein shakes,” added Stiritz. “Great taste shouldn’t have to mean sacrificing your health and wellness goals, and this data echoes the need for healthy choices that are easy, even during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.”
TOP FOOD-RELATED HOLIDAY MEMORIES
1. The smell of turkey cooking all day on Thanksgiving (32%)
2. Making holiday cookies with friends or family (22%)
3. Waking up to the smell of cinnamon rolls on Christmas or Thanksgiving morning (16%)
4. Eating cookies while waiting for Santa (15%)
5. Enjoying tamales on Christmas Eve (7%)