There’s no shame in indulging in all the delicious holiday treats that surround us at this time of year: peppermint-flavored everything, cakes, gingerbread cookies, hot cocoa, you know the deal. However, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been eating as though it’s been the holidays for months now. If you’re in the same boat, keep reading for some tried and true swaps for treats that are less processed, less sugary and healthier overall!
Swap out gummy candy for dried dates
I know what you might be thinking — dates, really? But if you close your eyes while you’re chewing, you can barely tell the difference from a gummy worm! Dates have that same chewy consistency but are still pretty sweet. Fun fact, they come from palm trees and are very high in fiber. So if you’re feeling constipated and in the mood for a sugar rush, you know what to grab.
Swap out pudding for chia seed pudding
Instead of gulping down a bowl of pudding, try a chia seed pudding fruit bowl! OK, so maybe “pudding fruit bowl” might not roll off the tongue, but it will definitely make your tummy smile (if that’s even possible). Simply get a jar and fill it with chia seeds. Add the liquid of your choosing: milk, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, the list goes on. Add either vanilla extract, rose water or even almond extract, and let it sit overnight in the fridge. Or, try out our chia seed pudding recipe. Voila! The next day, when you’re craving that classic post-breakfast dessert, throw some fruit in the pudding, and you’re ready to eat!
Swap out cookies for granola bites
These are small, so don’t be surprised if you eat all of them in one go. Granola bites are practically chocolate chip oatmeal cookies but in a ball! They are also quick to make, so they’re quite perfect for a midnight snack adventure. All you need is one-third cup honey, one-third cup peanut butter, 1 ½ cup oats, one-half cup nuts and a handful of raisins (or whichever dried fruit you prefer). Mix the ingredients together, then roll into bite-sized balls. If you somehow manage to not eat them all at once, be sure to store them in the refrigerator.
Swap out ice cream for a yogurt parfait
I’ve been there. I think we all have. I pig out on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, but when I realize that one pint is equal to about five servings, I wonder why I don’t feel full after. It seems very strange. But, I digress. If you want to avoid this post-Ben and Jerry’s regret, try making a yogurt parfait with fruit, honey and granola, or you can even make an acai bowl! Beware of getting either of these options from a restaurant, as they usually have a lot of added sugar that you can avoid by making it yourself.
Swap out Nutella for a homemade hazelnut spread
What if I told you that you could make your own version of Nutella, but it would probably have less sugar? I would run to the kitchen to try out this delicious vegan Nutella spread that only has five ingredients! Good ol’ Nutella has more sugar than hazelnuts, so it might be best to try making your own to avoid eating what’s practically spoonfuls of sugar alone in your kitchen at 3 a.m.
Seriously, though, do not feel guilty about eating “unhealthily” during the holidays. This time is meant for indulging, and frankly, after this year, we all deserve it. These are just some reduced sugar suggestions to help you satisfy your sweet tooth. Happy munching, Bears!
Contact Özge Terzioğlu at [email protected].