Anyone who wants to stay trim and healthy during the holidays knows that navigating your snacking this time of year can feel like dodging landmines. There’s the plate of lemon bars your neighbor baked for you, the box of chocolates your vendor shipped to you, the jar of candy canes your coworker generously shares with you, and the piles of pies, candies, and sweet treats that seem to endlessly swirl around you.
But I beg you not to living in snacking fear! With a little time and effort (and a quick trip to the grocery store), you can surround yourself with healthy goodies that satisfy your snacky cravings and leave you energized, satiated, and on track through the holidays. Here are some of my favorite winter treats. Enjoy!
Festive Trail Mix: Style your mix in holiday colors. Try a mix of red goji berries and green pistachios for festive fare that’s packed with antioxidants and nutrients. Choose raw (unroasted), unsalted pistachios to get the most out of these heart-healthy, vitamin-packed nuts. Gojis are packed with phytonutrients that support eye health, and they’re also known to improve kidney and liver function (good news after all those holiday cocktails).
Nut Butter Treats: In the mood for something creamy and sweet? Take a tablespoon of raw or dry-roasted almond, peanut, or cashew butter and spread it across a couple of cut up celery stalks. Top with raisins or coconut flakes. Or try nut butter on whole grain crackers with a little dollop of fruit-sweetened jam or a touch of honey. The fat in the nut butter will keep you satisfied and full throughout the afternoon, and it will help you turn your head to those plates of holiday cookies that are, seemingly, everywhere.
Salty, Crunchy Snacks: When you’re cravings lean towards savory side, enjoy a couple tablespoons of hummus with cut up veggie sticks. Salty and crunchy, this simple snack will help satisfy those potato chip cravings while giving you a big dose of veggie goodness. Alternatively, try mashing half of an avocado with a little sea salt and squirt of lime juice for ultra easy guacamole. Scoop it up with some veggie sticks or a handful of baked tortilla chips for a delicious mid-morning or late afternoon snack.
Chocolate! When you’re in the mood for something sweet and a handful of “festive trail mix” just won’t cut it, indulge in a couple squares of dark, high quality chocolate (70% or higher cocoa content). Lucky for us, dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant that’s been shown to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and boost our mood.