When most of us think of the holidays, something sweet comes to mind………

Often when folks hear the word healthy, they may not always think that it will taste good. But I have to tell you, fresh food prepared in the right way can be good for you and at the same time be absolutely delicious! And today, I am excited to share with you, 6 Holiday Desserts that you will love to make this holiday season that will actually be good for you!

I also have a great holiday tip to share from Specialized Physical Therapy Specialized Physical Therapy to help you while you are putting up all of those holiday decorations!

Here are a few tips to how to work in those sweets without adding extra calories during the season!

1. Consider fruit based treats. Fruit add lots of flavor and are packed with nutrition and fiber! They also provide moisture and a great texture to recipes!

2. Be mindful of your sweetener. Many traditional recipes can be just as tasty with the sugar cut by 25% without a noticeable difference. Honey, maple syrup, sorghum molasses, agave and stevia can be less processed options. A few of these are high fodmap so take that into consideration if you have IBS. You can also add flavors like citrus peel, vanilla or other flavoring extracts, spices like cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, clove, anise, allspice and clove to make some of your lighter versions even more flavorful.

3. Use healthy fats. Plant based fats that include nuts, soft margarine such as Earth Balance with small amounts of coconut are healthy options. If you like to use butter in  holiday sweets, use them sparingly and savor them! Balance saturated fats to about 1/3 of fat intake of your day. That means eating a higher amount of polyunsaturated omega 3 fats and monounsaturated fats!

4. Choose smaller portions and take time to enjoy them more! Almost anything can be worked in within reason! Make your dessert count! Sit down to eat it. Don’t do other things while you are eating them and savor it to its fullest!

I am excited to share one of our family’s favorite cookies and it has a new makeover! I replaced regular flour with almond meal and the butter with soft, tub margarine, Earth Balance and it is just as good as ever! I also have some delightful dessert recipes that some of my registered dietitian nutritionist friends and one food science friends have created in their kitchens! Some of these are gluten free, lower in fodmaps, vegan and low in sugar. I hope will sweet ideas will bring you lots of joy and health this holiday season!

 

Almond, White Chocolate, Cranberry & Macadamia Cookies

I love being able to serve these holiday cookies on this vintage cookie plate and table scarf!

Almond, White Chocolate, Cranberry & Macadamia Cookies

With a little bit of switches, my son’s favorite holiday cookie becomes healthier. Almond meal is used in place of white flour and soft tub margarine is used in place of butter. It is gluten free and if you want it to be vegan, find some vegan chocolate chips!

Makes 10-12 cookies

1 cup almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill but you can also make your own in the food processor)

3 tablespoon Earth Balance

3 tablespoon powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup cranberries

1/4 cup macadamia nuts

1/4 cup white chocolate

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, add almond flour, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and mix well. Cream with butter and stir well. Add cranberries, macadamia nuts and chocolate and stir carefully. Add spoonfuls of dough on cookie sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes. Take out cookies and allow to cool before removing.

Here is Emily Hein, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Zen and Spice’s heavenly Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Bars!

http://zenandspice.com/raspberry-chocolate cheesecake bars/

Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Lauren Grant, who is a food scientist and owner of Zestful Kitchen shares her delicious Mini Pear and Almond Tarts with a Whole Wheat Crust!

Mini Pear and Almond Tarts with a Whole Wheat Crust

 

Mini Pear Tarts and Almond Tarts with a Whole Wheat Crust

If a holiday cake is your sweet treat, Lauren Pincus, Registered Dietitian from Nutrition Starring You has made a special, delicious Nutty Apple Cake!

Nutty Apple Cake

The creamy texture of pumpkin pie sitting on top of a crispy gluten free crust tastes like heaven from Kelli Shallal, Registered Dietitian from Hungry Hobby’s kitchen!

Pumpkin Pie Bars (Gluten Free)

I love pecan pie and but it can be a high source of calories during the holiday season. EA Stewart, The Spicy RD shares this delicious Pecan Tart that is gluten free, vegan and can easily be made low fodmap! She made them in these sweet little skillets but they can easily be made in some white ramekins or even clear custard cups!

*Healthy-ish* Mini Gluten Free Pecan Pie Tarts {Low FODMAP, Vegan}

Healthy for the Holidays!
Here are some exercise tips from Michelle Kuehne, the personal trainer from Specialized Physical Therapy to stay fit to put up those holiday decorations. If you are going to use a ladder this season, this is a great exercise to help improve your climbing abilities and balance!
Using a step or small stool, step up with one foot while raising the opposite knee to parallel for a 3-5 second hold. Repeat on each side 10-15 times.

How to stay fit to hang those holiday decorations.

Balancing Exercise to Hang the Holiday Decorations

I hope that these exercises help you safely get your decorations up! Michelle, Dr. Sean Simmonds and the rest of the staff at Specialized Physical Therapy are available for all your physical therapy and fitness needs here in Asheville.

Holidays often revolve around something sweet to eat and  I hope that these healthier and tasty dessert recipes hit the spot and become some of your new favorites! As a registered dietitian, I lenjoy sharing healthy ways to help my clients live more enjoyable lives! I would love to hear about some of the ways that you have created a favorite healthy holiday dessert lighter! If you are new to my blog, welcome! You can find out more about me here!

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