The sights and smells of the holidays can invoke strong feelings of childhood memories and long-standing traditions. Freshly baked shortbread cookies, gingerbread houses, candy canes, chocolates and more can be an important aspect of the holidays for many.
If you are like me, you probably want to enjoy the holidays, but aren’t thrilled about the thought of completely deviating from your lifestyle or feeling sluggish by consuming foods you’re not used to eating regularly.
Thank Gawd for Google! There are SO many holiday-inspired dishes that are based on the traditional holiday foods you know and love, but have been reworked to include healthier ingredients. These are a few of my favourite healthy holiday replacements:
Gluten Free Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies – these gluten-free almond shortbread cookies requires only five ingredients and takes less than five minutes to whip up.
Vegan Creamy Dreamy Peppermint Patties – these melt-in-your-mouth peppermint patties made from scratch are even better than store-bought versions. Replace the agave with honey or maple syrup if desired and store in the fridge or freezer for the best texture.
Vegan Chocolate Turtles – there’s something about the holidays that brings about images of chocolate turtles dancing in our heads. This recipe variation is easy to make and contains whole foods unlike the overly processed, conventional version.
Vegan Nanaimo Bars – this gluten free/dairy free Nanaimo bar recipe comes with variations for three different flavours – Classic Vanilla, Mint Chip, and Pomegranate-Almond. YUM!
Dairy Free Eggnog – I’m not going to lie, I’m not a huge fan of eggnog but my dad loves it. For those who suffer from dairy intolerance, this beverage has traditionally been off limits. This dairy-free version relies on delicious coconut milk for a creamy texture that allows you to have your eggnog and drink it too!
Healthy Hot Chocolate – hot chocolate is a winter staple and yet conventional varieties contain loads of sugar and processed ingredients. This recipe variation is dairy free and relies on cacao for its chocolatey goodness. Cacao is rich in magnesium and a wide variety of powerful antioxidants.
Vegan Apple Pie Smoothie – apple pie makes a wonderful holiday dessert and yet all the sugar, fat and other unhealthy ingredients can really derail your healthy eating plans. This recipe contains all the best flavours of the pie and the apples contain fiber that can help you to feel fuller longer and provide a good dose of antioxidants and vitamins.
Homemade Sprouted Grain Stuffing – store bought stuffing can be loaded with additives and unnecessary ingredients (including high fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed soy protein and MSG.) Making stuffing yourself is super easy and this recipe calls for sprouted grain bread that has been minimally processed and offers a variety of benefits.
Crowd Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad – while not a standard holiday dish, caesar salad is always a favourite. This vegan version contains roasted chickpea croutons and a nut and seed based parmesan cheese.
Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce - these lentil balls couldn’t be more festive. They are packed with green lentils, cremini mushrooms, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and kale! Oh MY.
What are some of your favourite healthy holiday replacement recipes?