Tis’ the season friends. Even though this year is certainly not at ALL what we expected it to be, one thing remains the same and that’s the importance of finding a healthy balance while still embracing all the holiday goodness (and goodies) that the season has to offer!
We all deserve a few indulgences so certainly take them (I know I will!) but I always love sharing some of my favorite ‘healthier’ holiday swaps each season. Each year it’s a little different and I always share a favorite recipe or two for you to try. So, enjoy the season as best you can this year, spread some holiday cheer and give some of my recommendations a try. Your body will thank you for it, promise!
Hard Kombucha (Instead Of) Champagne Bubbly
All kombucha has a small amount of alcohol in it but brewers are upping the ante, making kombucha with more than 5 percent alcohol these days. Just like regular kombucha, hard kombucha is made of simple ingredients like yeast, bacteria, sugar and tea. It undergoes a similar fermentation process and is likely to have some of the same benefits as regular kombucha containing bioactive compounds such as polyphenols.
It’s light, crisp, tangy, low in carbs and sugar and quite delicious! But, it’s important to note that hard kombucha does not retain the live probiotics that regular kombucha thrives off of so it’s not claiming to be gut healthy.
Why we love boozy booch over champagne bubbly…
6 oz hard kombucha = 50 calories | 1g sugar | 1g net carbs
6 oz champagne = 149 calories | 2g sugar | 5g net carbs
Both are fizzy & gluten-free
Mocktails (Instead Of) Sugary Cocktails
Ditch the extra sugar and the unwanted hangover! Again, it’s all about finding balance. Try an evening with mocktails rather than cocktails at an upcoming event or gathering and make it to that morning yoga class you likely wouldn’t have otherwise.
As we all know, many cocktails are loaded with sugar that wreak havoc on your body. The holiday season is particularly hard on the body because of all the sugary indulgences that cause your blood sugar levels to be all over the place. Your pancreas is working overtime just to regulate and keep up.
We’re recommending a grapefruit sparkling water + 2 oz grapefruit juice + rosemary sprig in the calorie count below vs a traditional Moscow Mule.
Why we love mocktails over cocktails…
6 oz mocktail = 11 calories | 0g sugar | 0g net carbs
6 oz cocktail = 125 calories | 13g sugar | 15g net carbs
Almond Milk Nog (Instead Of) Traditional Egg Nog
Traditional eggnog has always been WAY too sweet for me even though I do love the taste! So, needless to say, I was thrilled to see some lower-calorie, dairy-free options hitting the scene in recent years. Califia Farms has a great holiday almond nog as does Trader Joe’s (oh how I love Trader Joe’s year-round but especially at the holidays!)
P.S. Try the dairy-free nog versions warmed + 2-4 oz of coffee for an AMAZING Eggnog Latte!
Why we love almond nog over traditional nog…
6 oz almond nog = 75 calories | 12g sugar | 13g net carbs
6 oz traditional nog = 255 calories | 26g sugar | 26g net carbs
Healthy Peanut Butter Balls (Instead Of) Fudge
Well, this is an easy one for me and while I do love my mom’s traditional Million Dollar Fudge, I’m also a sucker for anything peanut butter (P.S. Trader Joe’s No-Stir Creamy Peanut Butter Spread is INSANE OMG!) so this is a no-brainer swap for me!
The fact is, there are healthier swaps for just about everything from the peanut butter you choose to the chocolate you grab as you’re checking out at the register. This is why Trader Joe’s has been a staple shopping destination for me for over 20+ years.
Why we love our pb balls over fudge…
1 pb ball = 100 calories | 10g sugar | 13g carbs
1 piece fudge = 95 calories | 12g sugar | 13g carbs
While nutritional facts might look similar on this one, PB balls are packed with nutrition + healthy fats while fudge carries empty calories + sugar + carbs.
Healthy Peanut Butter Balls
- Food Processor
- 4-5 medjool dates
- 2 tbsp gluten-free old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I love Trader Joe's no stir)
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I use TJ's dark chunks)
- 1/2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
- Add peanut butter and process until combined. If the mixture seems too oily, add another TBSP of oats.
- Scoop out peanut butter dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Place balls on parchment paper.
- Place peanut butter balls in the freezer until firm (several hours or overnight). This step makes it easier to dip the balls into the chocolate.
- A couple minutes before taking the balls out of the freezer, combine your chocolate chips with the coconut oil and melt the mixture. Use a double boiler or microwave in 30 second increments (stirring after every 30 seconds) until the chocolate is melted.
- Dip chilled balls into the melted chocolate and roll until covered. Place back on parchment paper. Once all balls are covered, place back in freezer until hard.
- Store in freezer or fridge until ready to enjoy.
Pumpkin Overnight Oats (Instead Of) Pumpkin Bread
So I do have a favorite pumpkin bread recipe I love but haven’t found a top pick GF option yet so share in the comments below if you have a FAV. My grandmother’s pumpkin bread recipe is so delicious and moist but it also has a lot of unwanted oils and fats and is of course not GF. So, yes, I make the pumpkin bread during the holidays and the kids devour it, but, in turn, I keep nibbling on it too (for days).
I’ve found that this pumpkin overnight oats recipe not only ‘feeds’ the pumpkin spice craving we all want during the holidays, but it also makes a super nutritious, power-packed breakfast that the whole family loves.
Why we love our pumpkin oats over pumpkin bread…
6 oz pumpkin overnight oats = 250 calories | 7g sugar | 30g carbs | 11g protein
2 slices pumpkin bread = 332 calories | 34g sugar | 52g carbs | 4g protein
Pumpkin Overnight Oats
- 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt or non-dairy alternative
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2/3 cup unsweetened plant-based milk of choice
- 1 tbsp chia seeds or ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree
- 1-2 tsp coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Whisk together all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Spoon into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Close and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight before eating. Makes (1) large portion or (2) smaller portions.
I’ll recap by saying this one more time, it’s all about finding balance. No way am I skipping my holiday favorites, no way! But, there’s certainly a line that can be drawn between indulgence and overindulgence and boy can your body feel the difference. This year will certainly be different with less holiday events, dinners and gatherings to attend so it will likely be a little easier to slow things down but just be mindful as you navigate the holidays. Put your ‘healthier’ hat on and see where it takes you!
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As always, like it, love it, share it, spread the love!