Keeping it Clean Over the Holidays
It’s no secret that along with the joy and festivities of the holiday season comes the temptation of the holiday treats! Office parties, family get togethers, dinner with friends – there are endless opportunities to stuff ourselves. Saying no to all of the goodies that get passed along under our noses can be too much to bear even for the most dedicated healthy eaters.
So what does one do when the temptation arises? Honestly, in my opinion the holidays are a time to eat, drink and be merry. I don’t think we need to deprive ourselves entirely of the festivities – but there are some ways to do it a bit smarter.
Making Better Choices
Many holiday treats contain inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy and refined sugar. Making a few simple changes can easily make a dessert healthier and put less strain on our bodies. Bringing your own homemade treats along to your get togethers can be a nice gesture for the host and also ensure that there is something there you can enjoy without guilt.
Here are some simple ways to “health-ify” your treats:
-Swap out refined sugar for natural sources like honey or maple syrup.
-Add healthy fats by incorporating good oils like olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil instead of vegetable or canola oil.
-Try swapping out white refined flour for a gluten free blend like one by Bob’s Red Mill or use coconut flour or almond flour instead.
-Use allergen free chocolate chips like the Enjoy-Life brand which is free from common allergens like dairy, eggs, gluten and soy.
-Choose organic ingredients to avoid harmful toxins and genetically modified products
-If you end up eating more than usual, finish your meal with a refreshing herbal tea containing herbs that support the digestive system such as Stash Organic Lemon Ginger or a blend of fennel and peppermint like Eater’s Digest by Traditional Medicinals. These herbs are known for soothing, calming and aiding the digestive system which can help settle your stomach and ease bloating and discomfort.
Healthy Holiday Treats
My family’s favourite holiday treat is a smooth, rich, chocolatey Paleo fudge. Not only is this recipe grain free and refined sugar free, it is also vegan – making it dairy free and egg free as well.
What you need:
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup almond butter
½ cup organic cocoa powder
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp pure vanilla
¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt*
*plus more for sprinkling on top
What you do:
1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper
2. Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a whisk, stir all ingredients until melted and combined into a smooth mixture.
3. Remove pan from heat and pour mixture into the loaf pan
4. Refrigerate for two hours to harden the fudge
5. Cut into squares, sprinkle Himalayan pink salt over the top and enjoy!
This fudge is best stored in the fridge to prevent it from melting.
Change it up by adding organic peppermint extract for a minty flavour.
Add colourful toppings like Goji berries or add some crunch with crumbled nuts before refrigerating.
Be Kind to Yourself
Remember, it’s the holidays. A time to relax, unwind and enjoy time with your loved ones. If you do find yourself overindulging, be kind to yourself, you can get back on track the next day.
Sarah Tobin is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition with First Class Honours. She has been in the health and fitness industry for over 10 years and is passionate about helping others feel their best.
Along with working as a Nutritionist at the Natural Food Pantry in Barrhaven, Sarah is the owner of Simply Fed Nutrition where she works with her clients to find the root cause of their issues and achieve their goals.