Healthy Alternatives for Christmas Candy
The holiday season means that treats are abundant and celebrations are frequent, and that’s a wonderful thing! It’s so special to make memories with loved ones during the holidays, and for me, many of those memories revolve around baking cookies and making Christmas candy from recipes that have been passed down through the generations from family members.
While it’s healthy to be able to enjoy sweet treats without stressing out, you also need nutrients to power you through a very busy season. For me, that means always having healthy alternatives for Christmas candy nearby so that I can stay fueled all day long. I always make sure to include some sort of fiber from fruit or vegetables (apples and pears are both great sources of fiber!) as well as a protein, healthy fat, or both. That way, my blood sugar stays stable so I feel energized without a crash later.
Luckily, it’s easy to whip up delicious and nutritious treats made with Stemilt apples and pears to keep you going this holiday season. Many of these lower sugar treats can also work as quick desserts for when you’re craving something sweet, but want to avoid a sugar rush or you just don’t feel like making a whole batch of cookies.
Try these delicious fruit-filled ideas this season:
Easy Baked Apples: Simply core and slice a couple of apples, toss with 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, a pinch each of nutmeg and cloves, 1/4 tsp cornstarch, and a squeeze of lemon. Place in a lightly greased baking dish and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Enjoy warm with a dollop of vanilla yogurt or whipped cream.
Chocolate Dipped Pears: Heat chopped dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between each, until chocolate is melted. Dip pear slices in melted chocolate and top with coconut flakes or chopped nuts.
Apple Nachos: Core and thinly slice an apple and arrange on a plate. Drizzle with natural nut butter (the drippy kind made from just nuts and salt). Sprinkle with chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, cacao nibs, or coconut.
Wine Poached Pears: In a saucepan, bring 1/2 cup red wine (I like Malbec), 2 cups water, 1 tbsp honey, a cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, and 2 strips orange zest to a boil. Slice 2 pears in half and use a spoon to scoop out the core. Place pears in the liquid and reduce heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove pears and serve with whipped cream or yogurt and a drizzle of poaching liquid.
Easy Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip: Mix together 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup natural peanut butter or other nut butter, and 1 tsp honey. Adjust peanut butter and honey to taste. Serve dip with sliced apples and pears.