The holiday season is fast approaching and you’ve probably seen lists of what not to eat in magazines, online and on your favorite morning news program. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, I prefer to emphasize what you can have this holiday season – and, yes, it includes treats! Focusing on the abundance of healthier, tasty and fulfilling food options you do have will help make you feel like you aren’t being deprived or missing out. Follow the tips below and (mindfully) eat yourself to a merry and joyous time of year!
Cookies and muffins that come from the bakery or in a ready-mix box are typically laden with sugar, white flour and vegetable oils, foods that are inflammatory to the body and can lead to weight gain. Making your own cookies and treats at home means you’re in control of the ingredients and can substitute healthier alternatives. Opt for olive oil or coconut oil instead of canola oil; use half the amount of sugar called for in a recipe (you won’t miss it!) or replace white sugar altogether with honey, maple syrup or stevia, a natural plant-based alternative. Add fresh fruits such as blueberries or raspberries to your mix for flavor, fiber and antioxidants. The bonus to choosing homemade treats versus artificial, processed ones is less preservatives and additives.
CHRISTMAS ORANGES & VEGGIE PLATTERS
This one is pretty obvious – we should be eating fruits and veggies all year long. But we may need to emphasize getting our produce in over the holiday season as it can get lost in the shuffle of wine, turkey dinners and desserts. Fill your fridge with ready-to-grab-and-eat fruits such as mandarins, clementine’s and oranges. The vitamin C in these citrus fruits combined with their naturally sweet taste will give you energy and satisfy your sweet tooth in a pinch. Also, fill a tray with chopped veggies such as bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes and cucumbers for ready-to-eat parties treat. Pair with a low-fat hummus dip for extra effect.
HOMEMADE HOT CHOCOLATE
Warm up by the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate at the end of a long busy day spent working and shopping for the kiddos. This comforting, soothing drink can erase any visions of you running to the fridge for snacks all evening. Avoid the pre-made hot chocolate mixes that have a list of ingredients you may not even recognize. Instead, make your own easy version at home with cacao powder and almond milk. Simply heat milk over a stovetop and stir into a mug with a tablespoon of cocoa powder until thoroughly combined. Drizzle with a little bit of honey for a hint of extra sweetness.