The Holiday Treat REPLACEMENTS Cheat Sheet for Better Heart Health
Candy canes! Hot Cocoa! Sugar Cookies! Apple Cider! Caramels! Pound Cake! Gingerbread! Fruitcake! Shortbread! Truffles!
… Are you feeling bloated yet?
The holidays are one of the most wonderful times spent among family and friends, but most noteworthy is the time we spend around others… EATING food! Particularly the numerous holiday treats that come out for winter! It happens every year that as soon as we have our share of treats, we are left feeling sick, overweight, and low on energy – not to mention our hearts are working harder because of all the unhealthy fats, sugars, and carbs! It’s time for a change! Feel better this year and try these ultimate holiday treat replacements for better heart health (and just plain feeling better)!
Hot Chocolate Replacement
When the weather turns cold, one of the first treats we gravitate to is hot chocolate. It is the perfect cozy beverage after a fun day out on the tobogganing hill or snowshoeing through the snowy forest! The problem? So many hot chocolates are loaded with sugar – and even ones purchased from a café include plenty of butter! Instead, try making this Healthy Hot Chocolate from WellPlated.com that reduces the sugar by using dark chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, and your choice of milk alternative!
Sugar Cookie Replacements
Sugar cookies are what comes to mind when we think of Christmas, Santa, and stockings hung by the fire. And once we have had one, it is hard to stop yourself from eating more! Remove the guilt and the sweeteners by baking a sugar cookie that is heart healthy. You can make traditional-looking sugar cookies like the ones from Yummy Toddler Food which reduces the amount of sugar, or you can try something different and create a vegan, paleo, gluten free Healthy Sugar Cookie Bar from The Big Man’s World!
Peppermint Mocha Replacement
Are you a sucker for the Starbucks limited-time holiday drink menu? If you are, then you are probably familiar with the sweet and minty Peppermint Mocha! A Grande size of this drink includes 4 pumps of peppermint syrup and 4 pumps of mocha sauce, which leads to the beverage having 16g of fat and 54g of sugar (as disclaimed on the Starbucks website). Definitely not a heart-healthy drink… BUT if you adapt the recipe and make your own healthy version like The Lean Eating Couple’s recipe, then you can feel good about treating yourself!
Is shortbread your holiday treat weakness? If so, let yourself enjoy this cookie while also giving your blood pumper a break by selecting a recipe that uses only the best ingredients. This Fudge Striped Shortbread Cookie recipe from Ambitious Kitchen has healthy replacements – it uses almond flour instead of bleached flour, coconut oil instead of butter, maple syrup instead of sugar, and dark chocolate instead of sugary fudge. The perfect shortbread solution!
Hot Apple Cider Replacement
Another go-to beverage for seasonal gatherings is apple cider! Often we will purchase this in a jug from the grocery store that can be reheated and served. But many of these pre-made products are filled with hidden sugars, artificial flavorings, and high amounts of fat. Invest in the time to make your own SUPER apple cider with Healthful Pursuit’s Superfoods Hot Apple Cider! It includes some of nature’s best ingredients and doesn’t use any sugar, giving you that warming cup of apple cider that you’ve been craving!
Take the time to select healthier treats this year and feel better about your heart health and wellness going into the new year! A small change can make a big difference!
Want to know how else you can make your baking and cooking heart healthier this season? Take a look at these easy and healthy ingredient alternatives you can use in your favourite recipes!