Monday, December 2, 2013

Healthy Holiday Treats that Still Satisfy Cravings

Striking a balance between enjoyment and nutrition is possible, and it doesn't require depriving yourself.

Roasted nuts
Roasted nuts can provide a healthy snack to satisfy cravings.

Are you looking for satisfying holiday snacks and appetizers that won’t compromise your waistline? Striking a balance between enjoyment and nutrition is possible, and it doesn't require depriving yourself. 'Tis the season for good food and company, but say sayonara to belly bloat and food coma with these healthy treats.

Caramelized Magic

Roasting foods lets natural sugars emerge and liven up foods that once appeared oh-so-boring.

Nuts:

  • Jazz up 1 cup nuts with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon spices (cinnamon, ginger or pumpkin pie spice), 1-2 tablespoons sweetener (honey or maple syrup) and sea salt. Roast in an oven at 375 F for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  • For savory flavors, use 1-2 tablespoons tamari, 1-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary or thyme, and a pinch of sea salt. Roast as above.

Veggies:

  • Roast carrots, spears of rutabaga or even fennel. Mix with olive oil or melted coconut oil and sea salt and roast in an oven at 415 F for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Serve alone or sprinkle with Romano cheese.
  • Cook some caramelized onions and serve over baked brie with whole-grain or gluten-free crackers

Other Appetizers and Snacks

Make a No-Cook Mezze Platter:

  • Purchase a variety of olives and gourmet cheeses and serve with whole grain crackers or crusty bread, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes and freshly cut apple or pear slices.

Go Gaga over Chocolate

  • Melt 1/3 cup raw cocoa powder with 1/4 cup each coconut oil and coconut butter and 2-3 teaspoons of honey in a double boiler. Dip pear slices or figs in this heavenly goodness. Place on parchment paper and refrigerate until hardened.

Say yes to these festive holiday treats and cheers to a healthier holiday season!

By Siona Sammartino, MSN, dietetic intern, and Debra Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

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