It's no secret that the holidays have an indulgent reputation. Between stores brimming with treats around every corner and enthusiastic family members making (or requesting) their most decadent recipes, the holidays are not exactly set up to be our "healthiest" time of year. There are, however, some super simple ways you can spruce up the table with clean recipes and superfoods, keeping you feeling good this season on every level.
1. Celebrate Seasonal Fruit
There are endless options when it comes to baked goods, snacks and other sweet treats, but there are also some delicious seasonal produce options that act as simple pleasures all on their own. Offer a colorful spread of fresh fruits like crisp apples, juicy pears, succulent mandarin oranges, and candy-like berries. Not only will these sweet items pair well with your other dishes, but they will also offer a refreshing balance.
2. Upgrade Your Nut Dish
Nuts are a great choice to offer for snacking since they're filling, tasty and excellent for metabolic and cardiovascular health. To pack more superfoods into your mix, spice it up with a delectable combination of almonds, cashews and pecans, along with some dried berries like goji berries, dried white mulberries or goldenberries for added flavor and texture. These beneficial munchies are sure to be a huge hit with your guests.
3. Superfood-Infuse Your Dips and Spreads
Every holiday table needs some delectable spreads for crackers and crudités, which also happens to be a perfect place to fold in some favorite superfoods. Make your own dips, like hemp hummus, or try simply boosting your favorite store-bought varieties with the addition of superfood seeds, nuts, berries or powders. A handful of hemp seeds and chia seeds can be mixed into almost anything savory, thanks to their light flavor. Sweeter spreads and jams can be enhanced with fresh berries like macerated raspberries or sweet, dried goji berries and tart goldenberries.
4. Make Holiday Treats with Smart Sweeteners
If you're getting out the baking pans for the holiday, utilize simple sugar swaps to make your treats a little healthier. Coconut sugar is a perfect stand-in for cane sugar, and is an easy 1:1 swap with half the glycemic index load! Agave or monkfruit syrups are great substitutes for molasses or maple syrup, so you can make those gingerbread men better than ever this year. And while lucuma powder won't sweeten your recipe entirely on its own, take advantage of this flavorful fruit powder in recipes like muffins or quick breads to help reduce the total sugar. Try adding in two tablespoons of lucuma, and subtracting one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of flour per baked recipe to enhance the flavor. Though small, every little sugar reduction adds up!
Bonus tip: You can also swap out a portion of your regular baking flour with organic cauliflower flour as a healthier, low-carb alternative!