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Health Bytes: The Healthy Gift Guide


Health Bytes: The Healthy Gift Guide


Photos and Words by Samantha Wood

The stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve tends to be the hardest time on the waist for many people. Who can blame us? Food is available in huge quantities from the first bite of turkey to the last New Year's Eve party and when someone offers free food, the human inclination is to take it. I blame it on our cavemen ancestors who didn’t know when they would be eating their next meal. The solution to this problem seems obvious—stop eating so much during the holidays. But this is easier said than done, at least in my mind. Eating good food has become a holiday tradition. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without the delicious Christmas cookies and holiday bark.

Yet, there is a way to enjoy holiday food without worrying about your waistline. Just take your favorite recipes and tweak them a bit. That way your friends will thank you when you hand them a platter of goodies because they won’t feel guilty sneaking a bite here and there. In fact, they won’t have to sneak at all.

I have perused the food blogging world and found some recipes for your healthy eating pleasure. You can use these recipes as gifts or, if you like them enough, to keep for yourself.

Cookies (Sweet)Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles from Post-Punk Kitchen

I made these for Christmas last year. It was my first Christmas as a vegan and I was notsure how to enjoy delicious treats that I could no longer eat with my family. But this recipe came to my rescue. They are the perfect blend of sweet and spicy and they use nondairy milk, which packs less calories and fat than normal milk.

Mexican Snickerdoodles 2
Mexican Snickerdoodles 2

All-in-One Treat Homemade Nut Butters

These are one of the easiest treats to make, especially in large batches, and are perfect for sharing with friends. Simply grab some nuts and throw them in the food processor and you have a homemade creation that can be spruced up in a mason jar, ready for a little holiday cheer. Package the nut butter with some fresh apples or bananas and you’ve created the gift of health.

walnut butter
walnut butter

Trail Mix (Salty)Ina Garten’s Chipotle & Rosemary Spice Nuts

My mom makes this recipe whenever we have company over. The savory taste of the spices used to coat the nuts in this recipe will have your friends and family begging for more. Get all your nuts unsalted and you’ll cut down on the sodium typically consumed during the holidays from various store-bought trail mixes. If you want something simpler, mix some nuts and dried fruit together and pour into a decorated mason jar or cellophane bag.

Mixed Nuts
Mixed Nuts

DISCLAIMER: I am not and do not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Therefore, the advice you see on this website has been researched, but does not come from someone with professional experience.