4 Easy Tips To Make Holiday Treats More Nutrient-Dense
When the holidays arrive, it's natural to eat delicious treats and goodies. Most of us look forward to these all year long! It's a time for sharing and enjoying food with friends and family, but too much of a good (or should I say, "sweet") thing can damage our health, leaving us feeling less than our best. We can remedy this by limiting our indulgence of holiday treats. Or... we can just make our treats a little healthier.
Think More Nutrient-Dense Not Less Fat Or CaloriesMaking holiday treats healthier is not about lowering calories or reducing the possibility of gaining weight (although the holidays is the time of year many Americans add a few pounds). "Healthier" also doesn't mean less "fattening" or better for our waistlines. When we say we're making healthier treats, we mean that we're adding nutrient-density to foods we're already planning to eat. Most holiday treats are made from conventional ingredients like white flour, refined sugar, and vegetable oil. They're not adding anything to our overall health. Rather, they're detracting from it. You may have heard the quote from Heather Morgan: "Every time you eat or drink you are either feeding disease or fighting it." Pretty powerful, right? Furthermore, the holidays stretch on for months in the United States, beginning with the candy overload at Halloween and continuing through the candy overload of Valentine's Day and Easter. As soon as one holiday ends, it's time to start thinking about (and eating through) the next one! Therefore, it's not overkill to think about making your holiday treats healthier -- no matter what holiday you're celebrating! It's worth making a few tweaks to be sure the treats we consume are contributing to our overall wellness. Are you ready to make holiday treats healthier? Here are four easy ways to do it:
#1 -- Replace White Sugar...With a more nutrient-dense sweetener. White sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever. On the other hand, coconut sugar and coconut syrup contain many vitamins and minerals. Yes, these are still sweeteners, but at least they have some nutritional value. Both coconut sugar and syrup are real, whole foods. They are also lower on the glycemic index (GI) than white sugar, meaning they are digested and metabolized more slowly, resulting in less strain on blood sugar levels. For example, coconut sugar and syrup both have a GI value of 35. In contrast, refined white sugar has a GI value of 80 (source). Using these instead of white sugar gives a richer flavor to baked goods and ensures you are getting some extra nutrition as well. Wildly Organic's Coconut Sugar and Coconut Syrup are high-quality and delicious. Here are 7 sweeteners that are healthier than refined sugar.
#2 -- Use Soaked & Dehydrated NutsMany holiday treats contain nuts, which are already nutritional powerhouses -- when they're prepared properly. So, you can increase the nutrient-density of your nutty holiday treats simply by swapping store-bought nuts with soaked and dehydrated nuts -- like those found in these yummy recipes: You can soak and dehydrate them yourself! Or, save yourself the trouble (especially during the busy holiday season) and stock up on nuts that have already been soaked and dehydrated! (When I first saw these I wanted to cry with joy! It saves so much time and means I can make delicious treats without having to pre-plan). Wildly Organic carries a variety of soaked and dehydrated nuts. Check out our selection!
- Grain-Free Cookies 'n Milk Cups
- Raw Avocado-Lime Tart
- Homemade Almond Joy Bars
- Almond Coconut Cookies
#4 -- Swap Cocoa Powder With Raw Cacao PowderSwitch regular cocoa powder with cacao powder or fermented cacao powder and instantly increase the amount of antioxidants and enzymes in baked goods. Cacao powder is produced via a cold processing method, while cocoa powder is roasted at high temperatures. This roasting process destroys some of the value enzymes and lowers the overall nutritional value of the product. Fermented Cacao powder and non-fermented cacao powder are both superior to cocoa powder. So, feel free to choose either one. Fermented cacao powder has a stronger flavor than non-fermented cacao powder, so use what works best for your favorite recipes. Find out more about the difference between fermented and non-fermented cacao powder in this article: What's the Difference Between Fermented and Non-Fermented Cacao Powder. These recipes are made with cacao powder -- not cocoa powder -- if you want to give them a try:
- Grain-Free, Nut-Free Salted Caramel Brownies
- Grain-Free Dark Chocolate Cake
- Naturally Sweetened Peppermint Patties