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Chocolate yule log christmas cake

Healthier Season's Treatings: Delightful Desserts

By Jordan Bontrager, RD November 17, 2021 Posted in: Nutrition

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are upon us already! Family time, holiday caroling, and the season of giving- what could be better? There’s one other thing that frames the holiday season for many, and that’s food. Particularly, TONS of delicious desserts that are usually laden with sugar and calories. Overindulging on these treats can lead to that dreaded post-holiday weight gain and uncontrolled blood sugars. So, do we have to be a Scrooge and stay away from these gobble-worthy treats? Not necessarily!

Reducing Your Holiday Dessert Calories

  • Eat a sensible portion- most desserts, similar to meals in America, are super-sized. If there’s a holiday celebration at work and somebody brought a delicious cake, take a small piece and load the rest of your plate with nutrient-dense foods packed with protein and vegetables-mind what’s on the rest of your plate.
  • If you’re the one making the dessert, try substituting not-so-healthy baking ingredients with healthier ones. For example:
    • Use whole wheat or almond flour in place of all-purpose flour.
    • Use Stevia or Splenda in place of cane sugar.
    • You can try replacing butter with Greek yogurt. Keep in mind that measurements of these ingredients may differ, so do a search for conversions if needed. Greek yogurt can also be used as a base for frostings for some extra protein and less sugar.
    • Add in some fresh cut-up fruit to a recipe for a nutrient boost.
  • Snack on a healthy holiday party mix! Use a high-fiber cereal such as plain shredded wheat or Kashi Go Lean crunch. Add in some home-popped, lightly-salted popcorn, a few dark chocolate chips, and low-sugar dried cranberries to build a tasty yet healthy holly jolly mix.

There is room to enjoy the holidays with yummy desserts as part of a healthy eating pattern. Treat yourself to these holiday treats occasionally in sensible portions, and try experimenting with different ways to make dessert recipes healthier!

Want more health holiday eating tips? Check out our posts about appetizers and the main course!

Jordan Bontrager, RD
Jordan Bontrager, RD

Jordan Bontrager, MMN, RD, LMNT is a registered dietitian/diabetes educator with CHI Health. She works with patients to come up with manageable ways to refine eating patterns and lifestyle habits in order to improve overall health. Jordan’s passion is to help others hone in on healthy habits so they can live their best lives.

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