"When one door closes, another opens" might be the best way to describe a favorite tradition of the holiday season—Advent calendars. These festively packaged chocolate boxes make for one of the most delicious ways to count down to Christmas. But not the healthiest. While chocolate's been touted as beneficial to the health if eaten in moderation, the daily offerings found in Advent calendars are more questionable additions to a health-minded diet.
To find out where this holiday treat falls on the health scale, Body and Soul reached out to accredited practicing dietitian Dietitians Association of Australia spokesperson Joel Feren to find out just how unhealthy eating an Advent calendar actually is. Obviously, sugar content varies from Advent calendar to Advent calendar, but overall, they're like eating two candy bars, but spaced out over several days. Feren recommends being mindful about what else you're eating if you're planning on indulging in a piece a day. Dark chocolate is a healthier choice than milk alternatives while anything with add-ons like caramel and wafer is going to up the calorie count. Feren suggests calendars with nuts and dried fruit if you plan on being health conscience.
As with anything indulgent, moderation is key, and the fact you're only having one small piece a day is in line with this strategy. Feren's last piece of advice? "What I would say if somebody wants to eat their Advent chocolate is to really be present while you're eating and eat it without guilt."
Head to the comments to share your tips for healthy eating over the holidays.