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With the holiday season coming up pretty soon, you can expect to be bombarded with all sorts of yummy treats and desserts from every corner.
And if you have guests or family members coming around as well, you’ll also want to wow them with your special skills and tasty meals too.
At times like this, finding a delight that pleases the crowd and satisfies your cravings, without pushing you off your body goals may seem like a hurdle.
Well, not as much as you might think.
Here, you’ll learn some easy tips to help you stay healthy during the holidays, as well as 24 incredibly delicious holiday desserts for you to try this season.
They are easy to make, and definitely healthier than they look. From pies to cheesecakes to cookies and much more. There’s something for everyone.
No matter the crowd, these yummy holiday treats are sure to please everyone, and leave them wanting more.
Let’s dive in.
How To Stay Healthy During The Holidays
With all the delicious meals and sweet treats flying around, coupled with a seasonal desire to consume it all, staying healthy during the holidays may seem like a bit of a stretch.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Also, you don’t need to limit yourself to boring foods this holiday all in the name of being healthy. And you also don’t need a trip down the guilt lane for having something delicious.
So how then can you enjoy yourself this holiday without putting your health or waistline at risk? Here are 7 quick and easy tips to help you out.
1) Make healthier substitutions
Rather than settling for boring food, swapping out unhealthy ingredients for healthier ones is a good way to still enjoy your favorite meals, and without having to sacrifice good taste.
For example, using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream can deliver less calories, more protein and still the same level of creamy and yummy goodness.
Similar healthier food swaps include
- Using extra virgin olive oil in place of regular cooking oil
- Using lighter cheese options like goat cheese and cottage cheese in place of heavier ones like blue cheese
- Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.
- Swapping sugar for sugar-free sweeteners like stevia, erythritol and monk fruit. You can also use applesauce in place of regular sugar.
- Using a cauliflower crust instead of regular pizza dough.
2) Try To Avoid Stress
This may not sound like much, but it is really important. Feeling stressed can lead to more emotional eating than necessary.
With the holidays, come the hectic planning, packed gatherings and also more little humans roaming around. While this is supposed to be a fun time, it can get stressful at certain periods.
Finding a good way to manage stress not only helps you out mentally, but it can also help you eat better, and avoid unnecessary munching.
3) Practice Portion Control
This is way easier said than done, but still worth saying regardless. It truly is tempting to eat as much as our stomachs can accommodate when presented with delicious meals from every corner, but a little portion control can go a long way.
A general rule used, is to wait 10 minutes after your first round or serving before considering going for another. The reason is because it takes a few minutes for the “yep I’m good” signal your stomach sends to reach your brain.
Portion control can help you eat less, reducing the damage to your waistline.
4) Don’t Forget Exercise
Exercise during the holidays? I mean who does that? But wait a minute. Just hear me out.
When I say exercise during the holidays, I’m not talking about hitting the gym and spending 3 hours on the treadmill. I’m talking about incorporating simple but effective workouts into your daily routine.
With all the extra calories we get from indulging, regular exercise is a good way to burn more calories, and also keep your body healthy.
Your choice of workouts depends on you, and can range from a short walk, to a quick morning run, or even some indoor workouts like squats, lunges or crunches.
Regardless of what you do, finding a way to be more physically active will keep you healthy and burn more calories.
5) Don’t Party On An Empty Tank
Unless you’re like me, you’ll no doubt get invited to nice parties with lots of foods and treats to binge on. While all these are quite tempting, partying on an empty stomach means you have way more room for the unhealthy food.
Rather than choosing to stay at home and miss out on the fun, you can try eating something light and healthy beforehand. That way, you have less room for unhealthy food, but still get to enjoy the meals within reason.
6) Enjoy Your Fruits And Veggies
Unfortunately, the holiday season coincides with the flu season. A good way to keep your immune system strong and healthy, is to keep your body loaded with good nutrients from healthy fruits and vegetables.
Finding interesting ways to enjoy your fruits and veggies keeps you healthy without boring you out. Things like fruit salads, smoothies and casseroles, can help provide you with a boatload of nutrients, along with a great taste.
7) Remember The Reason For The Season
Last but not least, is remembering the reason for the season.
The main reason for the holidays is to connect with friends, family and loved ones. The food is basically just a secondary flex.
Of course you should try to enjoy yourself, but remember the main reason for the season is spending quality time with those close to our hearts.
Now that we’ve covered some tips to keep you healthy, let’s dive into 24 of the best holiday desserts that taste way healthier than they look.
24 Healthy Holiday Desserts
1) No Bake Sugar Cookie Bars
Enjoy the yummy taste of your favorite sugar cookies, but without the guilt. These no bake sugar cookie bars are actually sugar-free, but still taste just as good.
And whether you’re on a low carb or ketogenic diet, vegan or paleo diet, you can still enjoy these tasty cookie bars. You’ll definitely be wanting more.
2) Healthy Holiday Buckeye
Peanut butter candy balls dipped in chocolate, are a super easy and surefire treat that deserves a spot at any gathering. And these ones are just as easy, just as yummy and also low in calories.
3) Coconut Snowballs
Simple, easy and with no baking required, these coconut snowballs make a nice treat to whip up just in time. With minimal ingredients and only a couple of minutes required, your holidays will be a piece of cake.
4) Vegan Chocolate Christmas Cake
Filled with dried fruit, healthy nuts and chocolatey goodness, there’s no way anyone could resist this. And luckily you don’t have to.
5) No-Bake Candy Cane Mint Brownies
With just a few ingredients and zero baking required, this decadent dessert comes to life. Super easy and nutritious too.
6) Fruit Christmas Tree
You needed a more fun and interesting way to enjoy some healthy fruits this holiday season, and now you’ve got it. This fruit packed Christmas tree will be a hit, even among the kids.
7) Mini Vegan Gingerbread Cakes
8) Pumpkin Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
Simple, easy, low in calories and still super delicious.
9) Peppermint Ice Cream & Hot Cocoa Affogato
This is the perfect marriage between a nice peppermint ice cream, and hot cocoa. Sure to satisfy your cravings. It’s also vegan friendly.
10) Almond Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips
These healthy almond flour cookies offer a healthier twist on your regular cookies, and are still packed with yummy goodness. Plus they only require 6 simple ingredients to get the job done.
11) White Chocolate Funfetti Christmas Cookies
12) Healthy Strawberry Santas
An easy, tasty and healthy treat even your kids will love.
13) Gluten Free Peppermint Chocolate Cookies
Packing less than 100 calories per serving, these peppermint chocolate cookies are sure to become one of your favorites. Not to mention they’re super yummy too.
14) Snowball Keto Christmas Cookies
Cutting carbs don’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun. These snowball Christmas cookies have all the tasty goodness, minus the guilt.
15) Mini Christmas Pudding Bliss Balls
Packed with delicious fruits and nuts, these mini pudding bliss balls are as nutritious as they are satisfying. And making them is super easy as well.
16) Healthy Candy Cane Jars
With just 3 simple ingredients required, it really doesn’t get any better than this.
17) Healthy No-Bake Gingerbread Cookie Dough Bites
Who wouldn’t love these bite-sized bundles of joy?
18) No Bake Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake
A heaven for chocolate lovers, with all the yummy goodness, minus the guilt. It’s also dairy free and vegan friendly.
19) Gluten-Free Vegan Christmas Pudding
20) Festive Chocolate Pomegranate Cups
A sure crowd pleaser, made with just 3 simple ingredients and in just a couple of minutes.
21) Almond Coconut Bliss Ball Snowmen
22) Vegan & Gluten-Free Gingerbread Donuts
23) Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars
Forget the ones at Starbucks. These cranberry bliss bars taste just as good, and contain less than half the calories. A win-win scenario.
24) Healthy Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
For something this good, you’d never believe if I told you it contains under 100 calories. It actually does.
Taking a healthier approach to the holiday season isn’t as hard as it may seem.
Thanks to these wonderful tips and healthy holiday desserts, you can keep things on the healthier side while still having fun.
With all said and done, I wish you the most fruitful holidays and a great year in advance.