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6 Healthy & Easy Holiday Treat Swaps

Posted on 12/21/2017

The holiday season is upon us, AKA “cookie season”! A time of wonderful food, including cookies and snacks that aren’t exactly healthy. Weeks of consuming high sugar, refined cookies can leave you feeling drained of energy and motivation. This year, make a few simple holiday treat swaps that will leave you feeling healthy and satisfied.

Healthy Holiday Snacks

Forgo the Fruitcake and Eat a Cookie Instead

Do not let the word "fruit" fool you, this classic holiday treat isn’t very healthy. Dried fruit and fruit juices are denser in calories and the denser your calories, the more unlikely you are to lose weight. Choosing a simple sugar cookie over a slice of fruitcake will save you 79 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrate. While sugar cookies still do not count as healthy, this swap will save you some calories and carbs and you will likely enjoy it more.  

Pick the Right Pie

When it's time for dessert, slice yourself some apple pie or better yet, pumpkin pie if available this time of year. These options are much lower in calories than the typical pecan pie. In fact, you could save a whopping 175 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrate. Forgo the whipped topping and crust to reduce the calories even more!

Dark Chocolate instead of Candy Canes

While there are plenty of high sugar treats surrounding us during the holidays, try to stick to the healthiest type of sweet -- dark chocolate. Choosing a small serving of dark chocolate over something like a candy cane can save you 20 calories and 8 grams of carbohydrate. Remember the darker, the better. Aim for 60 percent cocoa or higher. And dark chocolate makes a great stocking stuffer too! 

No-Bake Truffles Instead of Classic Holiday Cookies

Many no bake truffle recipes include a base of dried dates for a natural sweetness, instead of the traditional combination of milk and sugar, and then get mixed with some cocoa, peanut butter or coconut. Recipes vary but these simple ingredients can make a delicious and healthy treat that is a much better alternative than cookies made with processed white sugar and white enriched flour. 

Biscotti Instead of Coffee Cake

Both of these items are made with flour and sugar, but there are also some major differences also. Coffee cake is made with a hefty amount of butter also making it much higher in fat and calories. Consuming a biscotti will save hundreds of calories, plus will add some important nutrients like fiber and protein from almonds. 

Lastly, Snack Right

Do you crave salt instead of sugar? Many of us with salt cravings enjoy salted, mixed nuts over the holiday season. Although they are full of good fat and healthy nutrients, a serving of salted nuts can contain around 800 calories and upwards of 1000 mgs of sodium. Instead, choose air popped popcorn to satisfy the salt craving that you yearn for. Or, better yet, keep on hand nuts that must be shelled such as walnuts or pistachios and that will satisfy your nut craving while slowing you down with having to shell them yourself.

Leave the fruitcake and candy canes for Santa this year and save yourself some unnecessary sugar and calories. It will leave you feeling lighter and more energetic, some things we all need this time of year.  Another upside to ditching some of the less healthy treats in lieu of others is that come January you won’t be 5 or 10 pounds heavier!

Check out the Seattle Sutton blog for additional healthy eating tips to keep your diet on track over the holidays. Looking for a gift to help a loved kick the new year off to a healthy start? Give them a gift certificate from Seattle Sutton!

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post-author

Rene Ficek, RDN, CDE

Grew up in the food industry and took that love of healthy eating to earn her degree in nutrition. She has worked as a registered dietitian for 6 years and has been with SSHE since 2013, providing nutrition analysis and meal planning. Her special interests in weight management and diabetes, helps patients manage their weight and health conditions. She enjoys an active lifestyle, as well as time in the kitchen. Rene’s favorite SSHE meal is the Thai Noodle Salad.

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