Healthy Holiday Treats
The holiday season is always one filled with laughter, memories, family gatherings, and sweet treats!
Desserts are the most popular and also the most consumed this time of year. I love a good sugar cookie or gingerbread cake. A little bit of sweets has a place in our diets this time of year (and all year round); but too much can leave us with a sugar crash, feeling bloated or tired; and deprive us of energy.
To combat the holiday dessert blues, I wanted to share 3 healthy treat recipes that are yummy and nutritional. You can make some healthier versions of your favorites and alternate them with the real deal; or feel satisfied alone with these because they taste so good. Bring them to your gatherings and everyone can enjoy holiday desserts guilt-free!
Keto Berry Crumble Bars
For everyone who lives the keto life or for people who don’t want overload on carbs this holiday season, these Berry Crumble Bars are completely keto-friendly. The bars are made with Explorado Market sweet keto baking mix to add a healthy touch to these delicious goodies.
The recipe is very simple to follow and are sure to be loved by everyone…YUM!
- 2 1/2 cups Explorado Market Sweet Keto Baking Mix
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Flour
- 2/3 cup Coconut Oil or fat of choice
- 1/4 cup Pecans chopped
- 2 cups Berries of your choice fresh or frozen, see notes
- 2 Tbsp Sweetener of choice see notes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper, leaving flaps overlapping the sides to make it easier to lift the bars out of the pan. Set aside.
- Combine the Baking Mix, coconut flour, and coconut oil in a bowl. Mix together until evenly combined. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crust mixture. Add the chopped pecans to the reserved 1/2 cup and mix well. Set aside.
- Add the rest of the mixture to the prepared baking pan, pressing evenly to fill the bottom of the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, add the berries and sweetener to a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat. While it’s cooking down, mash the berries with a spoon to break them down. Continue cooking the berries until they are smashed and thickened into a sauce (you should see a trail of empty space when you drag a spoon across the bottom of the pan).
- When the berries are done cooking, pour them into the prebaked crust, spreading to evenly fill the pan to all edges.
- Sprinkle the reserved crust/pecan mixture over the berries, evenly covering them but leaving some gaps. Slightly press the mixture into the berries.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown (23 minutes is the sweet spot for our oven). Remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cover and place in the fridge for at least another 30 minutes, but up to 6-8 hours. Cut into 9 bars.
- Store leftovers at room temp for 3-5 days, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Vegan Apple Oat Crisp
This apple dessert is a great option for vegans, vegetarians, those sticking to a primarily plant-based diet, or any one with egg or dairy allergies.
No one will even know it is vegan, it is just as delicious as a regular apple crisp; but so much more nutritious. My boys love this dessert. I love the crisp with a scoop of real vanilla; or you can serve it with dairy free vegan ice cream for your veggie friends.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse 1 cup oats in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a bowl and add remaining 1 cup oats, brown sugar, salt, coconut oil, and water. Stir until combined.
- Step 2 -Toss together all apple filling ingredients in a bowl and transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with topping. Cover with parchment-lined foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until apples are tender and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes more. Let cool slightly before serving.
Peanut Butter Ball Bites
For moms who are super busy during the holiday season, these peanut butter bites are the perfect healthy treat to bring to all of your festivities. With 4 simple ingredients, these tiny treats can be made quickly and easy to tote anywhere (I take them to all playdates and parties). I love these all year round; but add a few holiday colored sprinkles; and they will be a hit at your parties!
- 3/4 cup all-natural peanut butter (if your natural peanut butter is refrigerated and is thick, try popping the measuring cup of peanut butter in the microwave for 10-15 seconds)
- 1 3/4 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
- 1/3 cup honey (or slightly more if needed to bind the mixture together)
- 1/3 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips (I used mini)
- Optional: 1/4 cup wheat bran, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, or hemp seeds.
Add peanut butter to a medium microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until peanut butter is less solid.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl, and stir for 2-3 minutes until fully combined. At this point, if the dough is very sticky, you can refrigerate it for 1-2 hours or pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes to slightly firm up.
Using a cookie scoop or spoon, form the dough into about 24 tablespoon-sized balls. Place on wax or parchment sheet or dish and refrigerate for about an hour before enjoying.
To store, place energy bites in a Ziploc bag or storage container. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.
- You can roll them in holiday colored sprinkles before refrigerating if you want to make them more festive.
I hope these help give you some great ideas for what to make this holiday season. These recipes will surely be a healthy hit at all of your festivities. What’s your favorite healthy holiday treat?
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!