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11 Healthy Twists on Traditional Christmas Treats

Eat this peppermint bark if yoy feel like it. Or don't. It's entirely up to you!

The Christmas season is full of holiday tunes, twinkling lights, and good cheer. It is also a season for enjoying good food in the company of loved ones. Although many traditional holiday foods are laden with fat or sugar, it's actually inredibly easy to create a festive atmosphere without sacrificing your health. What it comes down to is selecting smarter ingredients to achieve the same rich palates.

Making the snacks from scratch is the best way to ensure that you know what's in them, so we've compiled a list of recipes that fit the festive feel of the holiday season. Enjoy these simple recipes for a quick means of making the season wholesome again.

Great Christmas Snacks to Put You in the Holiday Spirit

The pre-Christmas season is a time of anticipation and merry-making. Food is a big part of making the holiday feel special. This year, you can enjoy a healthier twist on your holiday favorites. These recipes lighten things up without sacrificing flavor.

Chocolate Truffles

This picture is also on our Halloween page. Try them while watching the Nightmare Before Christmas!

Rich, decadent truffles are a highlight of the holiday season. Unfortunately, traditional truffle recipes call for lots of heavy whipping cream, which can result in a treat that is packed with refined sugars and saturated fat. To supply a healthier treat, our vegan chocolate truffle recipe utilizes natural ingredients to recreate the flavors and textures of the desserts with just a fraction of the fat and natural sources of sweetness.

Made from Medjool dates, almond flour, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, and high-quality cacao-powder, they provide the creamy texture you are craving. Plus, you can customize the coatings to fit your palate. Cacao powder, almond flour, chia seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, or finely minced nuts (pistachios or almonds are perfect) make great coatings. These truffles are so delicious that you will need to make a big batch to distribute to your friends and family.

Santa Hats

If you’re searching for a cute and whimsical snack that fits with the holiday season, look no further than these brownie strawberry Santa hats (I Heart Naptime, 2012). You can use your favorite brownie recipe or adapt the recipe to use our chocolate coffee-flour muffins as a base.

The chocolate coffee-flour muffins are not only healthier, but also gluten free. Whip up a batch of vanilla buttercream frosting to spread atop the circular brownie base. Then, top with a strawberry (cut the tops off first) and add another dab of frosting to the tip of the cap. These Santa hats are perfect for a holiday gathering or to keep on hand for mid-afternoon snacking.

White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels

This white chocolate peppermint pretzel recipe is perfect for anyone who craves a sweet and salty combination (Lil Luna, 2015). Plus, they are simple to make and easily scale up to feed a crowd. Dip pretzel rods in white chocolate candy coating. Then, roll in crushed candy canes for a light peppermint finish.

No-Bake Pistachio Cookies

These pistachio cookies are like small sandwiches, but they are actually cookies.

Show your Christmas spirit with these cheerful green no-bake pistachio cookies. They are vegan, gluten-free, and packed with nutrients that make them a healthy alternative to more sugary snacks. The cookies are made from pistachios, shredded coconut, and gluten-free rolled oats. Moringa powder, a plant-based superfood, adds an extra green tint as well as all nine essential amino acids your body cannot make itself.

Although the filling between the two cookie halves is typically beige, a couple of drops of beet juice as a natural coloring agent can make them a shade of red, creating a Christmas color-scheme when sandwiched between two green cookies. The filling is healthy, too, made with raw cashews, shredded coconut, gluten-free rolled oats, and a bit of almond butter.

Cranberry and Pistachio Cheese Log

Cheese logs are hits at nearly every holiday party. Simple to make and appealing to nearly everyone, a smear of soft cheese on whole-wheat crackers makes the perfect snack. This recipe incorporates seasonally appropriate flavors that also match the red and green colors of Christmas (Little Kitchen Blue, 2015).

A mixture of cream cheese, sharp cheddar, and havarti cheese becomes smoothly spreadable when combined. Meanwhile, the dried cranberries and pistachio nuts complement the creaminess of the cheese. Choose a firm, whole-grain cracker that can stand up to this cheesy spread.

Chocolate Pecan Fudge

Chocolate lovers in your life will love the indulgent flavor of chocolate pecan fudge. The fudge base is smooth and decadent, while the pecans add a delightful crunch. Follow the recipe for a lasting treat and enjoy a small square or two as the perfect seasonal snack. Plus, pecans supply a source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, zinc, and fiber (Borsari, n.d.).

Cranberry Pistachio Cookies

These cookies would make a great snack for Santa if he were to ever start existing.

Cranberries are the perfect Christmas food, as their tart taste offsets the unrelenting sweetness of other holiday treats, and they’re the star of the show in this recipe for gluten-free Christmas cookies. Made with protein-rich almond flour and brown rice flour, the cookies also feature pistachios to add a boost of heart-healthy fats.

Savory and Spicy Roasted Nuts

Not only are nuts an easy and portable snack, but they are also full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Choose a combination of your favorite nuts: pecans, cashews, macadamia nuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, and chestnuts all work well. The spice mixture of cumin, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, and fresh rosemary pairs perfectly with the flavor of the roasted nuts. Nuts should be toasted until they are light golden in color for optimal flavor (No Spoon Necessary, 2014).

You can find a guide to roasting nuts here, or find pre-roasted spicy nuts right here at Nuts.com.

Orange Pecans

Citrus fruits come into season in the deep of winter, making them the perfect flavor to pair with another traditional Christmas taste: the pecan. Add a coating of sugar to get some sweetness in the mix and the result is a depth of flavors that is simply delightful. Enjoy a handful for a snack or send holiday packages of these nuts to your friends and loved ones. Consider ordering grabbing a larger bag and wrapping them in celaphame to create low cost gifts for everyone on your list!

Tiger Nut Horchata

This horchata is made from real tiger nuts, which have little to do with real tigers.

Horchata is a traditional Mexican beverage which happens to make use of seasonal spices. This version is based on Spanish-style horchata, which is made from tiger nuts. Tiger nuts contain a lot of fiber, promoting digestive health that can be helpful during the food-based Christmas season. Plus, tiger nut horchata is a creamy, milk-like beverage that is completely dairy-free! That makes it perfect for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies.

Tiger nut horchata is made by blending tiger nuts that have been soaked in water overnight with a bit of sugar, cinnamon, and additional water. Add a cinnamon stir stick for even more intense flavor. For a dairy-free twist on boozy eggnog, add a bit of chile-infused tequila (Carrie Allen, 2014).

Gluten-Free Bite-Sized Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is one of the stars of the holiday season. This healthy, gluten-free version is the perfect way to lighten up your Christmas snack table. One simple way to control portion sizes with a fun and festive twist is to adapt this recipe for a full pie into one for adorable bite-sized pies by baking them in a mini-muffin pan.

Just reduce the baking time accordingly to ensure they don't get burned. The crisp and healthy gluten-free crust is made from almond flour, coconut oil, and a bit of honey. To lighten up the traditional pecan pie filling, maple syrup and coconut sugar replace corn syrup. You won't taste the difference as you enjoy your delectable personal pie.

References

Borsari, K. (n.d.). Pop a pecan, not a pill. Shape Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.shape.com/blogs/fit-foodies/pop-pecan-not-pill

Carrie Allen, M. (2014). Say adios to eggnog and embrace Mexican drinks for a feliz navidad. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/say-adios-to-eggnog-and-embrace-mexican-drinks-for-a-feliz-navidad/2014/12/05/dde476e2-7c13-11e4-9a27-6fdbc612bff8_story.html

Lil Luna (2015). White chocolate peppermint pretzels. Retrieved from http://lilluna.com/white-chocolate-peppermint-pretzels/

Little Kitchen Blue (2015). Cranberry and pistachio cheese log. Retrieved from http://www.littlekitchenblue.com/recipe-items/cranberry-pistachio-cheese-log/

I Heart Naptime (2012). Brownie strawberry Santa hats. Retrieved from http://www.iheartnaptime.net/strawberry-santa/

No Spoon Necessary (2014). Savory and spicy roasted nut mix. Retrieved from http://www.nospoonnecessary.com/savory-spicy-rosemary-roasted-nuts/

The Healthy Apple (2011). Dark chocolate peanut butter pretzels. Retrieved from http://thehealthyapple.com/vegan-gluten-free-dark-chocolate-peanut-butter-pretzels/