Holidays are a time to get together with family, and inevitably, there are plenty of food temptations at events and gatherings. Being that desserts are more readily available at this time of year, it’s easy to overdo it with your sweet tooth. After eating too many rich desserts, you may be left feeling physically sluggish and emotionally stressed from feeling guilty all the time. Shouldn’t this be a time of year filled with joy and happiness? It can be!
Here are a few ways to “have your cake and eat it too” so that you can enjoy desserts without all the negative feelings associated with the holiday indulgence.
Upgrade Your Ingredients
Start by upgrading the quality of the ingredients in the desserts that you eat over the holidays. By using alternative flours, sweeteners, and healthier cooking oils, you will be able to reduce your sugar cravings and avoid the rollercoaster highs and lows with your energy levels.
Some of our favorite baking alternative replacements are:
- Coconut palm sugar
- Raw honey
- Grade A or Grade B Maple Syrup
- Dark liquid stevia
- Monk fruit
- Dried dates
- Bob’s Red Mill (gluten-free flour mix)
- Cup4Cup (gluten-free flour mix)
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Chestnut flour
- Cassava flour
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Organic grass-fed butter (if you tolerate dairy)
If you have an opportunity to bring a dessert with you to a potluck or make one for a dinner party, you will have more control over the type of ingredients that go into your desserts. You can also opt to make one healthy dessert a week over the holiday season that you keep at home or bring to work instead of eating the highly processed desserts that are offered in your office.
Here are three delicious and healthy holiday dessert recipes from our kitchen to yours:
Carob Mint Holiday Bites
This ‘chocolatey’ mint mixture blends together the perfect holiday flavors all in one bite.
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 6 to 8 medjool dates, pitted (try with 6, see if you need to add more)
- 3 tablespoons coconut butter
- 2 teaspoons spirulina powder**
- 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon carob powder
- 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon if necessary
- 2 drops peppermint extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes
Add sunflower seeds to food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add medjool dates and pulse again until well incorporated.
Add coconut butter, spirulina, and carob powder until combined. Add the water a little at a time to get the desired consistency. To test, try rolling some of the mixture in a ball. It should stick together when pressed but should not be wet.
Add the peppermint extract and salt. Start with 1 drop of peppermint and increase if necessary.
Pinch off a little of the mixture and roll into a ball about the size of a quarter. Roll in the dried coconut and set on a platter.
*Note: Spirulina can be found in the vitamin section at your local health food store. It is a blue/green algae that is packed with vitamins and minerals. Be sure to use this ingredient because it is both health supportive and provides for the deep/rich/dark color.
Chocolate Chip Cookie (Gluten-free, Dairy-free)
There is nothing like a warm chocolate chip cookie to bring you back to a feeling of comfort during the holidays. Your guests won’t even know these are gluten-free or dairy-free—it’s our little secret!
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup raw organic honey, melted
- 1/2 cup organic coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 organic egg
- 1/3 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 325F degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients together: honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and egg. Mix well.
Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.
Fold in the chocolate chips until spread throughout the batter evenly.
On a large parchment lined baking sheet, scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Leave room for cookies to spread. (You will need to use two baking sheets if you are using small baking sheets).
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until bottom of cookies are cooked.
Set out on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before serving.
Pumpkin Coconut Truffles
This unique and delicious recipe is from the creators of LiveALot Chocolate. You can never go wrong with chocolate-coated truffles for any holiday gathering!
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (from cooked pumpkin or BPA-free canned pumpkin)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (or nut/seed butter of choice)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 Live A Lot Chocolate bars (or 2 oz. dark chocolate)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Directions for Pumpkin Filling
Place filling ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Note: I used creamy sunflower seed butter. If using chunky, you might need to blend ingredients to mix well.
Place bowl in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes (while you melt chocolate) to harden a bit.
In a double boiler, melt down two chocolate bars and coconut oil. Stir as chocolate stars to melt to combine well and avoid burning. Turn off heat once melted.
Directions for Truffles
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spoon out a tablespoon of filling and roll into a ball. Dump into melted chocolate and move around gently with a spoon to cover with chocolate completely. Pick up truffle with a fork to let excess chocolate drip through, and place on the parchment paper lined sheet. Top with coarse sea salt if desired. Continue until done with pumpkin filling and chocolate.
Place baking sheet in freezer for 10 minutes to let chocolate harden.
Remove from freezer and enjoy! Store in freezer in an air-tight container.
Wishing you a sweet and healthy holiday season filled with meaningful conversations and delicious desserts!
Learn how to use food as medicine and make simple lifestyle shifts to boost your health and happiness every day at Living in Balance, our four-day, interactive wellness retreat featuring Deepak Chopra. Learn More.