If you do want to forgo the Christmas cookies but still have something that tastes like a treat, I recommend nutrition bars as a replacement. You want to choose the right one since many pack as much sugar as a candy bar. Right now I am loving the Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spice KIND bars. These only have 5 grams of sugar, which is 50% less than the average nutrition bar. They also don’t use any artificial sugars or sugar alcohols. These ones are made with nuts, spices, and whole grains so they’re healthy while still tasting like a festive treat. This is one of their seasonal flavors so it’s only available for a limited time.
One of my healthy holiday dessert hacks is using nut butter in lieu regular butter to cut the saturated fat and add heart healthy fats. Right now I am using Naturally More, peanut butter, almond butter and chocolate hazelnut spreads. I like this brand because unlike your traditional nut butters; they’ve added extra healthy ingredients – flaxseeds and probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, which help support our digestive and immune systems. And flax is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for our brain and our heart.
Chocolate is a non-negotiable in so many holiday treats. One that I like to use when I am baking for a lot of people is the organic PASCHA dark chocolate. I like them because they have a simple ingredient list with no additives and they are free from major food allergens including soy and dairy so you can accommodate friends and family with diet limitations. I find these at Whole Foods. Dark chocolate is definitely one of those healthier indulgences – it is a powerful source of antioxidants as well as nutrients like iron and magnesium.
As we know, desserts can pack a lot of sugar, which provides energy but very little to no nutrition. I love to sweeten a lot of my desserts with dates instead of refined sugar. Dates are naturally sweet but unlike sugar, which is just pure carbohydrates, dates provide nutrients like magnesium and potassium. They are also rich in fiber, which is important for digestion and regularity. I recommend making it into a paste and then adding it to your recipes.