Satisfy Your Holiday Sweet Tooth with Healthy Treats

You can nourish your body while still satisfying your sweet tooth.  "Healthy Grocery Girl" Megan Roosevelt, registered and licensed dietitian, joined us to share simple ways to shop for holiday treats and give them a homemade touch!

We all know that desserts are a treat and not really considered “health food”. However even when we indulge it’s important to make sure that we are nourishing our body with the most natural and health benefiting ingredients we can.

It would be ideal to bake everything from scratch, so you can monitor each and every ingredient that you use. But let’s be honest, we are all busy, especially this time of year! So ditch the guilt if you don’t feel like baking or don’t have the time to this season. There are many healthy desserts on the market, and with a few homemade touches, they can be just as festive and delicious as homemade.
We leave them out for Santa, we share them with our neighbors, and we decorate with friends! Cookies are a holiday favorite.
However, many commercially processed & packaged cookies are filled with trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and loads of added sugar and artificial dyes and coloring. There are many healthy cookies on the market, and with a few simple add-on touches, they can look just as good and taste just a good, as homemade.
Point to remember: Avoid cookies with hydrogenated oils “Trans Fats” and High Fructose Corn Syrup in the ingredient list. If you love to decorate but are short on time, spruce up a store bought cookie with a few homemade touches such as using a natural frosting and sprinkles.
Hot Cocoa
Many beverages offer a sugar-free option to help you watch your calories and overall sugar intake. Don’t do it. Sugar-free often means, “Chemically filled”. Reach for an organic hot cocoa to avoid artificial sweeteners, globs of corn syrup and unhealthy preservatives.
Point to remember: Avoid cocoa that is sugar-free or contains artificial sweeteners. Choose an organic dark hot cocoa and you will truly be satisfied.
Candy Canes
Candy canes are essential for the holiday season. However what are not essential is the high fructose corn syrup, artificial red dyes and artificial flavoring conventional candy canes contain. My favorite candy canes are colored with beet juice to get that boost of swirling holiday red. Yes, beet juice! Don’t worry; your candy canes will not taste like beets.
Point to remember: Avoid red dyes and artificial colors. Look for candy canes made with natural fruit coloring, such as beet juice!

Avoid fudge that contains butter, lard or shortening and stick with coconut butter! Also dates make an excellent binder and sweetener, and also add a little extra fiber to satisfy your fudge indulgence. If you buy fudge from the store, roll your fudge in a little natural cacao powder right before you serve them. This will add a boost of nutrition and a homemade decadent touch.
Point to remember: Look for fudge made with real cacao and contain no hydrogenated oils. Dust your fudge in real cacao for extra nutrition, flavor, and to give it that homemade look.
Most commercial brand frosting contain loads of hydrogenated oils. This is why your frosting can sit in your pantry for years and not mold!
Instead, I love to use a natural nut butter flavored with dark chocolate or vanilla as my frosting! This adds extra protein and healthy fat to your desserts, which helps with portion control and blood sugar regulation. You can use these decadent nut butters on cupcakes, cake, cookies or even a holiday dip for your favorite fruit!
Point to remember: Use a natural chocolate hazelnut or vanilla almond nut butter for frosting, this will add protein and healthy fat to your dessert helping to manage portion control and blood sugar regulation. By doing this, you will also avoid harmful hydrogenated oils which are found in most commercial brand frostings. 
For more great information on shopping healthy for the holidays, visit Megan's website.  There you can find healthy dessert recipes in Healthy Grocery Girl’s e-book; Healthy Holiday Dessert Guide.




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