The holidays are a wonderful time to bring friends and family together. Making a fresh batch of holiday desserts is a perfect way to make connections and memories during the holiday season.
Think of your favorite family dessert, then think about how it makes you feel. Warm, nostalgic, happy, connected? Does it ever feel too sweet or unsatisfying? There is a way to enjoy your favorite sweets, while feeling satisfied and full! Think of some ingredients that boost protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, and low-fat dairy should pop into your mind! Most importantly, the holidays are meant to be enjoyed, so choose the desserts that you and your family enjoy eating.
Here are some ideas for delicious holiday desserts, with a focus on healthy, nutrient-dense ingredients:
- Use nature’s candy (fruit) to your advantage!
- Mix and match fruits. Fresh, frozen, canned, or dried all work.
- Use naturally sweet foods, like fruit, beets, avocado, coconut, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, zucchini, carrot, beans, or yogurt.
- Half the sugar! You would be surprised how tasty your desserts are with less sugar.
- Swap 1/2 cup of oil or butter for:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup mashed banana
- When a recipe calls for enriched white all purpose flour, replace half with whole grains like:
- Whole wheat flour
- Oat flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Rye flour
- Rice flour
- Corn meal
- Add in whole grains, like oats or quinoa. This is a great for making a high fiber dessert that helps to keep you full and satisfied.
- If using a boxed dessert, consider adding:
- Pureed beans
- Chopped nuts or seeds
- Fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits
- Vegetables (carrots, zucchini, avocado, squash)
- If using a ready to eat dessert, found in the bakery section of the grocery store, pair with a side of fruit.
- Instead of ice cream with pie, try a scoop of low-fat Greek yogurt.
Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzels
- Mixing bowl
- Baking sheet
- Blender or Food Processor
- Microwave safe bowl
- 2/3 cup peanut butter or other nut/seed butter
- 6 tbsp oat flour
- 24 twisted pretzels whole grain
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Always wash hands before food preparation.
- Make oat flour by pulsing oats in a blender until a fine powder is formed.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together peanut butter and oat flour until a dough is formed. Add more oat flour if too runny.
- Roll 1/2 tablespoon of dough into a ball with clean hands. Sandwich one ball in between two pretzels and press to stick together. Repeat for remaining dough and pretzels and place on a baking sheet.
- Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 15 second intervals, stirring in between.
- Dip half the sandwiched peanut butter pretzels in melted chocolate and place back on baking sheet. Repeat for all. Freeze for 20 minutes to 1 hour and enjoy!
- Store in the refrigerator or freezer.