I definitely believe in indulging during the holidays. Christmas cookies and dinners only happen once a year, alongside those special Christmas or holiday cocktails, appetizers, and more. Enjoying them is something that is very important to me and ever since I started practicing intuitive eating, I became aware of the fact that if I don't allow myself to eat my favorite holiday treats, I just don't have a good time.
However, I also know that if I eat like that all time, I won't feel my best physically. So for the last few months, I've been collecting my favorite healthy holiday recipes to make this month, test, and see if they're as good as they look. Having these around the house helps me feel like I'm indulging, without the heavy feeling that happens from eating gingerbread cookies every single day for a month!
These are my top 5 favorite recipes that I've tried through November and the first part of December.
These are as easy as they look: pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and coconut in dark chocolate. And gosh, they are tasty: satisfying that need for a little chocolate bite, but adding in the tang of pomegranate and the crunch of pistachios. (I'll be honest: I left out the coconut because I'm not a huge fan.) You could really add any kind of nut or dried fruit to this: I want to try dried raspberries, almonds and white chocolate next.
I've been making these for Forrest forever, so it was something we could share this month! I actually bought salted caramel Greek yogurt to try and it worked out fantastic. I usually chop up dried fruit to mix with it, so we had salted caramel Greek yogurt with diced dried mangos. Absolutely delicious! As holiday yogurts get to grocery stores, you can do this with just about any yogurt for a healthy holiday treat before or after meals (or, you know, with meals in Forrest's case). Adding sprinkles is a nice festive touch.
I wanted to include something vegan because I've been avoiding dairy for a few months now. (And over Thanksgiving, I ended up consuming a lot of dairy and let me say, my skin absolutely knew it.) These definitely aren't a traditional gingerbread, but they definitely get the flavor right; I opted not to do the thick glaze and just sprinkled the tops with a little powdered sugar mixed with pumpkin pie spice. Absolutely just as lovely! They make great breakfast replacements as well, for those days when you don't have time to make something.
One note about these cookies: the recipes calls for coconut oil, a substance I choose not to eat. (It's 65% trans fat! It's not healthy!) I used plain old butter to replace it and they were just as good; you could also use applesauce or mashed banana and it would be lovely. The addition of almond flour and oat flour is really genius and gives them a unique texture and taste. However, they definitely satisfy that need of mine to eat as much gingerbread as possible--without feeling like I've eaten approximately 8 bags of flour.
This is another super easy recipe that gets the flavor exactly right. I make these chocolate and peppermint cookies every December and these balls taste really, really similar (although the texture is not that of a cookie, obviously). They are a great afternoon pick-me-up at work when I just want something to munch on, but want to avoid the massive platter of cookies in the break room!