A Healthy Holidays?

So here we are, in the throws of the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Festivus Season and we are already being bombarded with all the delicious delicacies that pass under our noses every December.  Every year I just think to myself, just make it through the season without gaining the customary 5 to 10 lbs. that most of us gain this time of year (and yes I have been guilty of that in seasons past! :-().  My mantra has been to my clients as well as myself, “Aim to maintain, aim to maintain!”, because weighing the same after Christmas as you did before Christmas is a big feat in and of itself.  But is there a better way?  Can you easily maintain, or heaven forbid, actually lose a few pounds over the holidays?

This year I decided to make ONLY healthy foods for the holidays.  Tough job I know!  I decided to do a blog post at the end of the week to share the best I’ve tried, and maybe a few of my disasters as well. 🙂

Let’s start with one I bragged about on Facebook recently, my Chocolate Chip Blondies recipe.  I’ve also included the Chocolate Chip Brownie version if your family is chocoholics like mine! (both versions were fantastic!)  I’m also including my Pancake Squares recipe, great for holiday breakfasts, feeds a crowd  fast and no standing over the hot stove for hours!  And the new recipe I found for Pumpkin-Carrot Muffins, really delicious!

Chocolate Chip Blondies (recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie and a few other sites I can’t remember now, sorry!)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup natural nut butter

1/3 cup demerara or coconut sugar or raw sugar

1/3 cup honey or agave

¼ cup oats

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

¼ cup cocoa (for brownie option)

½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips in the food processor until smooth.  Fold in chocolate chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan and bake at 350 F for 20 min.  Cool slightly before cutting, makes 16.

medium.1Pancake Squares (recipe adapted from Big Red Kitchen to make them healthier!)

1 1/2 cups milk (dairy or non dairy both work well)

2 tbsp. melted butter or coconut oil

2 large eggs

2 tbsp. raw sugar (maple syrup is a nice alternative, healthier and gives them a maple flavor!)

2 cups whole wheat flour (I substitute in ¼ cup coconut flour, ¼ cup plain protein powder, sometimes other healthy flours if I have them)

4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8×12 baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, beat together milk, butter and egg. Add sugar, then gradually beat the flour in. Carefully stir in the baking powder and salt. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Pumpkin-Carrot Muffins (recipe adapted from a magazine, they were cupcakes that I tweaked!)

1/3 cup light butter (use regular butter if you don’t have light, or coconut oil)

½ cup demerara or coconut sugar or raw sugar

¼ cup honey

2 large eggs

1 cup pureed pumpkin

½ cup fat free greek yogurt

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (again you can substitute in other healthy flours or even try gluten free!)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. cinnamon

1 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)

Grease muffin tin and preheat oven to 350 F. Cream together butter and sugar until well combined, add the egg, yogurt and pumpkin and beat well after each addition, then and dry ingredients and combine.  Fold in grated carrots and half the seeds, then spoon into muffin tin and sprinkle with remaining pumpkin seeds and bake until golden brown, about 20 min.

Hope everyone out there enjoys these recipes as much as we have , so far they’ve been big hits in this house!  If you have any family favorite holiday treats that you would like me to try and make healthier for you, send them to me at valarie@bethebestu.ca and I’ll see what I can do!  Happy Baking!





















hanks and happy baking!


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