Updated: Dec 26, 2022
One of the best things about Christmas is all the yummy baked goods - it’s the season of buttery shortbread cookies and sweet gingerbread. When I think of holiday baking some of my favourite memory is the act of making these special treats with my siblings and my mom and then preparing the little tins of goodies for family and friends. Some of the recipes have been passed down for generations and I hope to always have them around. As tradition would have it, these recipes often contain lots of flour, sugar and butter and it’s a good idea to practice portion control when it comes to these goodies. We usually bake a bunch, keep some of it to enjoy on Christmas day and share with our loved ones. It’s a well-balanced way to stick to traditions, share the love and lead a health-conscious life.
In addition to the classic recipes, I enhanced my baking repertoire during the most recent years to include healthier alternatives and I now make a range of baked goods which are better for you – this includes the elimination of refined sugars as well as gluten and dairy free options – especially for those who may have an intolerance.
Fruit as a dessert but also to keep you healthy
We are lucky to have a tremendous amount of fruit available to us even during the winter months so let’s make sure we enjoy them and make it part of our healthy holiday celebrations. Winter fruit is great for you as they not only support the immune system but your overall health. Nothing beats a box of orange, clementine or grapefruit to get your dose of Vitamin C! But don’t forget about festive cranberry and pomegranate which contain tons of antioxidants and are also great for heart health. You’ll find some further reading and a list of the best winter fruit by clicking here.
1. Fruit platter
Make sure you include fruit in your holiday healthy meal planning. We love making a Christmas platter of fruit which includes all the colours of the rainbow. This is a great addition to your brunch spread or just to have around the house as an afternoon snack. Consider using a cookie cutter for some star shaped apple slices or pineapple pieces.
2. Kiwi Christmas tree
Probably the easiest and most impressive fruit snack to make which kids and adults will both enjoy. All you need is kiwi, pomegranate and an orange to create this wonderful surprise this holiday season.
It’s all about the cheers
The world has done a great job in marketing holiday drinks especially with the help of all the cute Christmas cups. However, most of these festive drinks contain lots of sugar which is not good for you. You can easily make many fun drinks at home which are also better for your health.
1. Gingerbread latte
You know the gingerbread latte you can buy at all the café shops? You can easily recreate it and make it a better for you drink at home. Add a shot of espresso to your mug and fill the mug with your choice of warm nut milk. Mix in 1 tbs maple syrup, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger and a pinch of nutmeg and allspice. Stir until combined and serve hot. Add some whipped coconut cream for extra creaminess.
2. Peppermint mocha smoothie
There may be a blizzard out there but sometimes I still crave a cold smoothie during an early afternoon. This peppermint mocha smoothie is easy to make and such a festive alternative to your regular fruit smoothie. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth! This includes 1 shot espresso, ½ cup milk of choice, 1 tbs Skyr or Greek yoghurt, 1 tbs ground flax, 1 tbs cocoa powder, 1 tbs vanilla protein, ¼ tsp peppermint extract and a handful of ice. Top with crunchy candy cane pieces.
Let’s bake a healthy dessert
1. Gingersnap cookies
Gingersnap cookies are a holiday favourite – this cookie recipe is sure to satisfy your craving this season. This easy recipe is the perfect mix of sweetness, spice and chewy goodness. Gingersnaps should be slightly crisp at the edges with a chewy, soft center and this recipe is perfect!
• 1 cup almond flour
• 1 cup arrowroot flour
• 3/4 cup coconut sugar
• 1/2 cup coconut oil
• 1 egg
• 1 tbs maple syrup
• 2 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp ginger
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp salt
Combine the ingredients and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Shape balls, place on baking sheet and top with some coconut sugar. Put in freezer for 10 minutes then bake at 350 C for about 12 minutes.