The chillier months are upon us, and it’s easy to lose the motivation to eat healthy. Now that you are free to wear pants with an elastic waistband and hide under your favorite oversized knit sweater, you might feel like it’s okay to loosen the reigns a bit on your diet. In other words, you might go into what I call winter hibernation mode. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way, especially since there seems to be temptations on every corner. Food is always at the center of the holiday season, this might surprise you, but you can have your cake and eat it too. I have compiled a list of holiday comfort foods that you can eat without feeling guilty.
With 142 Calories per serving: White Chocolate Holiday Bark is a great healthy alternative to high- calorie store bought holiday candies. (Source: Health.com)
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup oven-toasted rice cereal
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 pounds good-quality white chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
2. Spread the sliced almonds and the unsweetened coconut in an even layer on the baking sheet. Toast 5–8 minutes or until coconut just begins to brown. Remove baking sheet from the oven, and let cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine almonds, coconut, rice cereal, and dried cranberries. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the mixture, and set aside.
4. Place chopped white chocolate and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large heatproof bowl, and set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a spatula until the chocolate is completely melted.
5. Remove the chocolate from heat, and fold in the almond mixture. Spread mixture evenly on parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle on the reserved 1/4 cup topping. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate has completely set. Break the bark into small pieces, and serve.
With only 87 Calories Per Serving: Black & White Chocolate Chip Cookies will satisfy your sweet tooth. (Source: Health.com)
2 cups cake flour (about 8 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons egg substitute
1 1/2 tablespoons Kahlúa (coffee-flavored liqueur)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons semisweet chocolate minichips
1/3 cup premium white chocolate chips
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans, toasted
Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir with a whisk.
Combine sugars, butter, and shortening in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup water, egg substitute, Kahlúa, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add Kahlúa mixture to sugar mixture; beat 2 minutes or until well blended. Gradually add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and pecans. Drop by level tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, at 350° for 14 minutes or just until set and beginning to brown around edges and on bottoms. Remove from oven; cool on pan 1 minute. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire racks.
187 Calories Per Serving: Slim Green Bean Casserole
3 to 4 medium shallots, in their skins
Kosher salt, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 pound fresh green beans, stemmed, and halved crosswise
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mushroom, vegetable, or chicken broth (see Cook’s Note)
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the shallots (in their skins) on a small baking dish, roast until soft, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, skin and coarsely chop the shallots. Set aside.
Bring a medium-large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add kosher salt, to taste. Add the green beans, and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer the beans to a large bowl.
In the same saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with 1 teaspoon salt, cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the beans.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the shallots, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir to combine evenly.
Spray a 2-quart baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the pan. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of thyme to bread crumbs and scatter over the vegetables. Bake uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the crumbs brown, about 20 minutes.
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
Maple Pecan Topping
3 tablespoon maple syrup
6 tablespoons almond flour
1 ½ tablespoon melted vegan butter
¾ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Sweet Potato Casserole
3.3 pounds sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
6 tablespoons coconut oil
6 tablespoons vegan butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Maple Pecan Topping
While sweet potato is boiling or right before, mix all the ingredients for the maple pecan topping together and set aside until needed.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a casserole dish. Set aside.
In a 4 QT pot of boiling water, boil the sweet potato for 20 minutes until fork soft.
When the sweet potato is finished boiling, drain and mash. Add the rest of the ingredients and using the potato masher, mix all the ingredients together until they are incorporated, about 2 minutes of mashing.
Spoon sweet potato mix into the casserole dish and top with the Maple Pecan topping.
Bake for 30 minutes (check that nuts don’t burn – if they are browning too quickly cover with foil) then remove from oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then serve.
Skinny Warm Holiday Drinks:
1/2 Cup Coffee
2 Drops Peppermint Extract
1/3 Cup Non-Fat or Almond Milk
2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Syrup
Indulge: 161 Calorie Vodka Spiked Hot Cocoa
1 1/2 oz. Voli Espresso Vanilla Vodka
1 Packet of Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix
8 oz Hot Water