Healthy Holiday Sweets

By Lindsey Johnson

The holidays are filled with sweet eats and goodies! This year, don’t sacrifice your healthy eating habits to enjoy the treats of the season. Try these tasty sweets that are a natural, healthier option to traditional heavy desserts. You will satisfy the sweet tooth without adding to the waistline.

1 – Banana Ice Cream (Swap for traditional ice cream)

You can create your own healthy ice cream with one simple ingredient – bananas! Keep it basic or add variations for guiltless ice cream!

– 3 very ripe bananas

Cut the ripe bananas into small chunks and freeze. Using a food processor or blender, blend to desired consistency. Eat immediately or freeze for an additional hour for a firmer texture.

ADDITIONAL FLAVOR OPTIONS

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER

Include 3 tablespoons peanut butter (or other nut butter) and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder before blending.

VANILLA

Add 3 tablespoons vanilla extract and 1/4 cup milk of choice before blending.

PIÑA COLADA

Add 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup diced pineapple and 1/4 cup coconut milk before blending. Refreeze. Use only 2 bananas for this recipe.

2 – Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds (Swap for candy)

Pomegranate is full of nutritional benefits such as high fiber content, vitamin C and protein. With a few simple ingredients, you can have the perfect sweet treat for any holiday party.

– 1 package dark chocolate chips

– 1 cup pomegranate seeds

– 1/4 cup shredded coconut flakes (optional)

– 1/4 cup chopped nuts such as almonds, walnuts, peanuts (optional)

Buy either pomegranate seeds or the full pomegranate fruit. If buying the full fruit, remove the seeds, rinse and pat dry before using.

Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside.

Melt chocolate in the microwave in short intervals to avoid overcooking. When almost completely melted, stir in pomegranate seeds. Stir in coconut and nuts. Dish mixture into muffin cups. If desired, top with additional coconut and nuts. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store in an airtight container, separating layers with wax paper.

3 – Healthy Energy Power Balls (Swap for holiday cookies)

These balls will satisfy your sweet tooth while providing you with plenty of protein power! Great for breakfast, a snack or your favorite dessert.

– 3 cups quick cooking oats

– 1/2 cup honey

– 1 cup almond, cashew, sunbutter or peanut butter

– 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

– 1 tablespoon flax seeds

– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Add ingredients to a large bowl and mix well with a mixer. Form small balls by hand and place on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate 1-2 hours or until formed.

4 – Frozen Yogurt Fruit Cups (Swap for cheesecake)

These sweet treats combine fruit with other natural ingredients like oats and pure maple syrup to make a delectable treat!

– 2 cups quick cooking oats

– 1/2 cup almond, cashew, sunbutter or peanut butter

– 1/2 cup maple syrup

– 2 cups dairy-free yogurt of your choice (or Greek yogurt)

– Chopped fruit(s) of your choice: raspberries, kiwi, blackberries, mango, blueberries and strawberries

Line a muffin pan with liners. Mix together the oats, nut butter and maple syrup to form a crust. Press the crust firmly into the bottom of the liners. Add a layer of yogurt on top of the crust. Top with the chopped fruit. Freeze for 1-2 hours or until cups are firm.

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