While I’ve been pretty good about controlling my sweets craving in the last couple of months, (and trust me, it ain’t easy!), this time of the year makes it much harder to steer clear of the sugar, because who doesn’t want to make a cup of hot cocoa with a generous helping of whipped cream and marshmallows for the rest of the month? As tempting as that sounds, I am determined to feed my body clean, nutritious foods and find alternatives to my favorite indulgences. So, here are five, cleaner alternatives to the usual sugar-overloaded holiday treats!
- Hot Cacao
My family and I have been obsessed with drinking this ever since I tried to randomly experiment with it in quarantine. It’s literally my favorite holiday drink without any of the added sugar and with all the added health benefits! Simply heat any milk of your choice (I prefer to use oat milk as it makes it creamier) on the stove and add about a tablespoon of raw cacao powder, a sprinkle of cinnamon powder, a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric powder— yes, you read that right, turmeric— some black pepper to help release the goodness of the turmeric, and lastly, some organic maple syrup for a kick of sweetness. I promise you, you won’t be able to tell the difference! It’s the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit while keeping your immunity strong.
- Gingerbread Oatmeal
In case you don’t already know, I’ve been loving overnight oats and experimenting with different combinations for a while now, and with the holidays around the corner, I thought this one would be perfect. Add half a cup of rolled oats to a cup of your choice of milk, add some dried ginger powder, nutmeg, cinnamon powder, vanilla extract, a touch of organic maple syrup, and a dollop of nut butter of your choice— voila! Your favorite tea-time binge is ready for breakfast!
- Chocolate Protein Bites
This snack is perfect for people who are on-the-go but have a massive sweet tooth like I do! All you need is some rolled oats (can you tell I’m a fan?), raw cacao powder, pitted dates for the sweetness and kick of energy, a dollop of peanut butter, a handful of chia seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, and hemp seeds (yes, I know that’s a lot of seeds, but the more the merrier!), and any nuts of your choice. Simply combine the ingredients, roll them into tiny balls or divide them into slices, sprinkle them with some coconut flakes, and leave them to cool in the refrigerator. This makes for a perfect post- or pre-workout snack or is even perfect when you need a little pick-me-up with your afternoon shot of espresso.
- Apple Cinnamon Chips
Who doesn’t love a good crunch—especially if it’s healthy! These apple chips are seriously addictive and are a great way to get your daily intake of fruit too. All you need are some thinly sliced apples, some cinnamon powder, and an oven preheated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. While it does take two hours to get crispy, and you need to flip the slices an hour in, let me assure you that it is totally worth the wait! It’s the perfect accompaniment to your Christmas movie nights or even for all-day snacking.
- Vegan Peppermint Dark Chocolate Soft-Serve
This “nice-cream” has frozen bananas as its base ingredient, which are topped off with some raw cacao powder, almond or oat milk, and vanilla and peppermint extract. Simply combine all the ingredients together in a blender and leave it in the freezer to set. When you’re ready to serve it, you can garnish your soft-serve with some almond flakes and cacao nibs or enjoy it just as it is––guilt-free indulgence at its best!