The holidays are upon us, and with the cooler weather and celebrations come our favorite traditional holiday recipes. While there are so many ways to put healthier twists on holiday classics, I personally believe that fully embracing the holiday season and all the traditional recipes that come with it is the best way to celebrate your family’s food culture during this special time of year.
Food has an incredible way to connect us across cultures and generations, and there is something really wonderful about celebrating the holidays with traditional recipes that have been passed down year after year.
And while the recipes we make during the holidays can still be rooted in tradition, the ingredients we use can evolve to better align with both our health and environmental beliefs. Today, we have access to incredible ingredients that are sourced with the highest sustainability and nutritional standards. So, rather than miss out on a favorite family holiday recipe, I encourage you to instead focus on and amplify the ingredients you already use with these four easy swaps.
1. Coconut Sugar in Place of White Sugar
Most of the sugar used in holiday recipes is refined white sugar that really isn’t all that good for your or the environment. Instead, simply swap your usual refined white sugar for coconut sugar using a 1:1 ratio. This is such a simple swap that can work for most holiday recipes (especially baked goods like breads and muffins). Coconut sugar has a richer taste, which I prefer in baking, and was recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization as the most sustainable sweetener in the world. Pretty sweet, right?
2. Homemade Coconut Cream Instead of Canned Whipped Cream
Canned whipped cream is a traditional topping for many holiday recipes (especially pies). Unfortunately, it’s usually loaded with preservatives and is not made from high-quality organic dairy sources. Instead, opt for making your own whipped coconut cream to top your pies and holiday beverages.
Here’s a quick way to make it:
Simply refrigerate one can of full-fat coconut milk overnight and then scoop the cream from the top of the can (discard the liquid). Whisk the cream until it is the consistency of whipped cream and serve as a topping for your favorite desserts!
3. Organic Nuts and Seeds Over Conventional
Nuts and seeds are staples in so many holiday recipes, but unfortunately, conventional nuts are typically sprayed with pesticides and known for having poor labor practices. Instead, opt for organic nuts like Navitas Organics Cashew Nuts and seeds like Navitas Organics Chia Seeds or Hemp Seeds for your holiday recipes. You will feel better knowing that they are both healthier for you and better for the farmers and laborers who brought them to you.
4. Fairtrade Cacao Powder as Alternative to Cocoa Powder
Once you start using Fairtrade cacao powder, you will never go back to processed cocoa powder. Cacao powder is incredibly nutrient rich and loaded with antioxidants and minerals that make it my favorite superfood to use in baking recipes. Since the cacao industry is an incredibly corrupt and labor-intensive industry, I firmly believe in only using organic and Fairtrade certified cacao for all my recipes. Simply swap your basic cocoa powder for Navitas Organics Cacao Powder using a 1:1 ratio and enjoy your decadent dessert or holiday beverage knowing you are supporting a more ethical cacao industry.
Have you made some healthy superfood #SuperSwaps in your recipes? Tag @navitasorganics and use #SuperSwaps in your posts!
Author Bio: Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN is an experienced global health and sustainability advocate and creative entrepreneur specializing in social impact communications strategy and content development. Prior to founding The Well Essentials, Megan worked in global health nutrition and water security programming both internationally and domestically. Megan holds a Master of Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine and a Master of Science from Tufts University School of Nutrition. She also is a Registered Dietitian and completed her dietetic training at Brigham and Women's Harvard Teaching Hospital.