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Holiday Flavor Detox

What to do when the cravings start!

The holiday season is all about giving; so why does the world take away our favorite flavors once spring rolls around? The fall and winter months give you just enough time to develop an unrelenting craving for gingerbread cookies and pumpkin spice lattes, so January comes as a rude awakening for your taste buds.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little preparation, you can make comparable foods that will keep you satisfied and then replace the flavors altogether with ones that are similar and just as good (though this will undoubtedly be a subject of debate among pumpkin purists)

Gingerbread Detox

When you venture out into the world after the holidays, you’ll realize something. Stores will no longer stock “make-a-gingerbread-house” kits. Decorations shaped like gingerbread men will no longer hang from the ceilings of retail stores and bakeries. It’ll be like all the gingerbread in the world evaporated overnight

Don’t panic. To cope with gingerbread’s sudden disappearance, check out a gingersnaps recipe. Baking gingersnaps is a great way to get that delicious ginger taste back in your life, and it only takes about half an hour to make three dozen of them.

If you’re ready to move on from gingerbread altogether, try making the classic sugar cookie, or maybe make our Cranberry Sugar Cookie, since dried cranberries are now available year round. Even though sugar cookies involve the most basic ingredients, they’re delicious in their simplicity—and sweet, like gingerbread. Feel free to use a gingerbread man cookie cutter on your sugar cookies to perform mind tricks on yourself as needed.

Peppermint Detox

If you’re unable to recall just how many candy canes you consumed during the holiday season, this detox is for you. Your first order of business is to head to the grocery store right at the end of December to collect deeply-discounted candy canes in bulk. This should last you for a couple of months.

The sugar can get to be a little much, though, so peppermint tea is a great, subtle option when your goal is to get off the candy cane train. (It’s also a great way of resisting the temptation to binge on York Peppermint Patties, although we'd be the last to keep track!)

For those of you feeling particularly adventurous, you can start adding some minty flavor to your dinners. This may be able to keep your peppermint ice cream cravings to a minimum. Try recipes with spearmint in the ingredients, like deep-fried mahi-mahi macadamia nut fingers or yogurt, cucumber and spearmint soup. Heading to the kitchen to give new recipes a go can be a fun way to detox and keep dessert intake down to a normal level.

Pumpkin Detox

It’ll be a tough process to reduce your pumpkin obsession down to a reasonable level of desire. However, by weaning yourself off the flavor instead of going cold turkey (pun intended), you’ll be able to prevent withdrawal and keep yourself from weeping while watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on repeat.

If you think this transition will hit you hard, start enjoying the convenience of canned pumpkin. Stock up, and then try putting on your culinary hat before whipping up a batch of pumpkin soup. That way you’re eating an actual meal instead of devouring dessert and chugging coffee by the gallon. You can also try pumpkin ravioli. This recipe has only 162 calories per serving!

Once the canned pumpkin starts losing its novelty, it might be time to find a replacement flavor obsession. Try apple cinnamon. Why? It’s also a fall flavor, but it doesn’t fall off the face of the Earth once the new year hits. Make a batch of apple danishes to keep the fall theme going.

Beverage Accompaniments

Few things go better with sweets like this than hot cocoa or a cup of fresh-brewed coffee. Don’t just settle for the instant varieties, though. If you’re going to the trouble of making homemade treats, powdered cocoa and freeze-dried crystals just won’t do.

Melt a few squares of semi-sweet chocolate into a pan of milk for a rich, chocolatey cocoa. Stir frequently to blend well. In addition to your regular, robust coffee, you can also get some of these holiday flavors in coffee blends, or flavored creamers. Share the love with gifts, too. Check out coffee makers from Macy’s, Kohl’s, and other stores to find the perfect present for the coffee aficionado on your list.

Every holiday has to end, but that doesn’t mean your food cravings have to suffer because of it. With a little planning and these detox tactics, your sweet tooth will thank you!