Making Healthy Holiday Treats

By Brandi Swieter

The holidays are often filled with treats, with families getting together to decorate Christmas cookies, parents filling stockings with candy, and Christmas dinner -- including a full array of desserts for after the meal. With so many sweets on the menu during this season, it’s important for families to consider making some of their choices more nutritious. Healthy holiday treats are possible as long as they get made carefully to incorporate more beneficial ingredients.

Substitute Sugar

Sugar is bad for the body, yet so many holiday snacks contain a ton of the stuff. When making treats at home, sugar in the recipes can get substituted out for honey. Organic honey is best in this case to ensure just a subtle sweetness without all the extra calories. Three-fourths of a cup will do in most instances, replacing a full cup of sugar.

Make a Homemade Crust

Many pies often get served at Christmas time, with most filled with sugar and loaded with calories. Making a homemade crust is the best option, as it ensures less sugar gets utilized. Rather than using a graham cracker crust, nuts are the better choice. Nuts can get crushed into a finely ground mix using a food processor and then mixed with some butter for a pie base that will set well after getting baked for a few minutes.

Set Out Trail Mix

Rather than having candy and cookies set out to enjoy during the Christmas meal, trail mix is a healthier option. Hosts can choose the ingredients they want to add to make it a bit more fun for them. Nuts are a common choice, along with pretzels and chocolate chips. People can add in a few candies for a special treat that is still far healthier than some alternative options. Dark chocolate is better to use than milk, so remember that when considering what to add.

Use Fruit

Many holiday treats center around baked goods, bread, and dough. These are extremely unhealthy and high in calories, making them less than ideal to have around. Using fruit is a better alternative, as it contains plenty of nutrients and vitamins that people need. Make it the focus of the dish rather than a part in a pie. Poached pears, for example, are one possibility, alongside a tray of fruit with a delicious dip, baked apples with cinnamon, and bananas in strawberry sauce.

Healthier holiday treats are needed, as so many of what is sold and made are filled with sugar. Making substitutions and creating homemade options with less calories is the best way to ensure people get their fill of deliciousness without overdoing it on the unhealthy aspects. Nutrition matters even during the holidays.

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