I love December. It’s full of friends, family, parties, snow, gifts and food. It’s a time for delicious indulgences and extravagant feasts, and a time (despite what we think) that still has room for health. Like anything in life, and during this season especially, I try to stress the importance of balance. I’ll definitely be eating and drinking things outside of my regular routine these holidays, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be completely abandoning my health goals. Here are some of my tips for a healthier holiday:
1. Practise mindfulness
We often find ourselves eating out of habit without being hungry or paying attention to the flavour of the food. Start listening to your body. Don’t pop that third hors d’oeuvres into your mouth just because someone’s offered it to you, think about if you really want it. And if you do, take the time to truly enjoy it!
2. Focus on the vegetables
By making vegetables the majority on your plate, you leave room to include a few indulgent items in a responsible quantity. Plus, vegetables (especially the green ones) help improve digestion, detoxification and energy levels without leaving us overly stuffed and weighed down.
3. Experiment with healthier options
There’s no need to avoid your favourite holiday foods altogether, but what about tweaking the original recipes a bit? Swapping out white sugar for healthier, unrefined sweeteners in your baking or using vegetable broth instead of butter and cream in your mash can go a long way in terms of health without sacrificing taste. Here’s my version of the much-loved chocolate truffle — with a healthy twist and a lot of chocolate flavour:
Vegan chocolate truffles
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup raw cacao powder (plus more for dusting)
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1. Using a double boiler, heat all three ingredients together until coconut oil is melted and everything is evenly mixed
2. Take off of the heat and place the mixture in fridge for about ½ an hour
3. Take out of the fridge and stir to mix the chocolate that has hardened on the edges in with the more liquid parts in the middle
4. Put the bowl back in the fridge for about 10 more minutes
5. Remove the bowl from the fridge and, using a spoon, scoop a small amount and roll into a ball with your hands. Place on a piece of parchment paper
6. Once all the balls are formed, use a sieve to lightly dust tops with cacao powder
7. Store in the fridge until ready to serve
*Option to roll in coconut flakes, crushed nuts, bits of dried fruit or anything you want: Be creative!
Makes approximately 14 truffles
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Serving size 15 g
Calories from fat 74
Total fat 8 g
Saturated fat 7g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Total carbohydrates 5 g
Fibre 1 g
Sugar 3 g
Protein 1 g
Tara Miller is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist. Her educational background is from The Institute of Holistic Nutrition combined with a degree in psychology from the University of Guelph. This combination allows Tara to address the challenges individuals face when it comes to everyday healthy living. Tara is also the owner of the Health Hut Boutique in Muskoka where she offers effective and toxic-free beauty, household and specialty food items. You can follow her blog for holistic recipes and tips at taramillernutrition.com.