The holidays are all about peace, joy, and love, which go great with hearty, warming, and sweet foods. However, we also typically associate this joyous time with overconsumption of unhealthy food and drinks. By the time the holidays are over and we’re on our merry way back to a normal diet, we feel lethargic and lousy.
Instead of choosing to feel crummy during the festive season, try infusing some (or all) of these healthy holiday recipes into your holiday menu without sacrificing heartiness, warmth, spiciness, and sweetness.
Remember to cook with seasonal ingredients (find winter foods here!), buy fresh instead of canned or frozen, and use lower fat substitutes. Below, are some of my favorite fresh food and drink recipes for you to enjoy during the holiday season.
1. Mulled Wine
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 5 whole cloves
- ½ tbsp ginger
- ½ tbsp nutmeg
- Slices from 1 orange
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan to cook over low heat. Serve after brewing for 30 minutes and garnish with orange wedge or cinnamon sticks. [!serves!]
2. Rosemary Fizz
- 2 long sprigs of rosemary
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp honey
- 1 ½ oz of gin
- About 3 oz club soda
Muddle 1 sprig of rosemary with lemon juice and honey. Fill your glass with ice and add the gin (optional) and club soda. Use the other sprig of rosemary to stir the drink and as garnish. [!serves!]
3. Warm Apple Pie Smoothie
- 2 small apples
- 1 banana
- ½ cup of rolled oats
- ¼ cup of almonds
- 2 cups water (or less for a thicker texture)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 tbs honey
Add all ingredients into Vitamix or high speed blender. If using a Vitamix, blend on high until the outside of the pitcher becomes warm to the touch (about 2 minutes). If using a blender that will not warm the inside mixture, microwave/heat the finished smoothie. [!serves!]
4. Kale and Sweet Potato Hash
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups of chopped and peeled sweet potatoes
- 4 cups of torn kale
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 ½ tbsp minced garlic
- Pinch sea salt and pepper
- Juice from ½ a lemon
Place chopped sweet potatoes in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for about 5 minutes or until soft. In a large skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Next add onions and garlic, stirring occasionally until onions are nearly translucent. Then, add the softened sweet potatoes into the skillet and sauté until browned.
Sprinkle in a little sea salt and pepper and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Lastly, add the kale and lemon juice, stirring until the kale is slightly wilted. [!serves!]
5. Grapefruit Pear Salad
- 4 cups of arugula
- 2 grapefruits, sliced and peeled
- 2 pears, cubed
- ¾ cup slivered almonds
- ¾ cup of goat cheese
- Balsamic vinegar and olive oil
Mix arugula, grapefruit, and pears. Sprinkle almonds and goat cheese atop of salad. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. [!serves!]
6. Spicy Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- 1 lb brussel sprouts (halved with ends trimmed)
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ tbsp minced garlic
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Sea salt and pepper
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. In a small saucepan combine olive oil, garlic, cayenne pepper and bring to a low simmer. Add brussel sprouts to the baking sheet and brush the oil mixture onto the brussel sprouts until completely covered. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes before roasting in the oven for about 40 minutes (or until crispy). [!serves!]
7. Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- ¾ cup creamy organic unsalted peanut butter
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- Pinch of sea salt
Using a double boiler, melt all of the chocolate chips along with 2 tbsp of coconut oil on medium heat. When the chocolate is thoroughly melted and silky, turn the heat off.
In a small bowl, add the peanut butter and remaining 2 tbsp of coconut oil. Stir until blended. Prepare a muffin tin with liners, and with a spoon, start adding the chocolate mixture to the liner making a thin bottom layer. Freeze for 5 minutes to set.
Next, add the peanut butter mixture creating a middle layer. Then, add more chocolate mixture, forming a top layer. Sprinkle the top with sea salt. Freeze for 20 minutes before serving.
Store in the refrigerator if there are leftovers. [!makes!]
Do you have your own tried-and-tested healthy holiday recipes? Share them with us below!
Image credit: Lee Hersh