Two sugar-filled holidays, Thanksgiving and Halloween, are approaching us. The holidays are a time when we get together with family and friends and of course, what brings us together more than our traditional delicious yet high calorie dishes and treats. Followed closely by a holiday that kids love, and many adults love to hate (sure it’s fun, but the bags of treats staring at you all night after the kids go to bed, sometimes not-so-fun).
It’s perfectly okay to have turkey dinner with your family or share a few Halloween treats with your kids. However, we know how it feels when one thanksgiving meal turns into 3, and one treat turns into 10. So, it’s always helpful to have some strategies on hand that help us eat said treats in moderation, because it really is the dose that makes the poison. One small indulgence here and there is a non-issue, but it’s when it all adds up that..well, it all adds up!
Here are a few alternatives that can help you have a healthy holiday!
Although some people may call pumpkin-lovers ‘basic’ (and I for one, am okay with being basic), pumpkin is one of the most signature flavours associated with the fall season and especially with the Thanksgiving holiday. This year, instead of having pumpkin pie, try the pumpkin pie mousse alternative:
Pumpkin Pie Mousse
½ cup (125g) pumpkin puree
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup honey
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
Add the pumpkin puree and Greek yogurt to a mixing bowl
Mix at medium speed until combined
Add honey and mixture until combined
Add pumpkin pie spice, salt and vanilla extract
Mix until combined
Chill for 1-2 hours before serving (best results are overnight)
Top with whipped cream, walnuts, or caramel sauce for extra flavour
As an alternative to try and curb candy cravings, try dark chocolate covered dried fruits! They are a sweet treat with the added benefit of having vitamins and minerals. Dried fruits that pair well with dark chocolate are mangoes, figs, dates, bananas, pears, and strawberries.
Instead of chips, get your crunch craving from popcorn. Popcorn can be made into a sweet or savoury snack, depending on the flavours you add! ‘Skinny Pop’ (NOT Smart Pop, very different, trust me) is a great alternative because it is delicious but low in calories and has very ingredients.
A few flavour ideas:
Zesty lemon-parmesan: ¼ cup of grated parmesan, ¼ tsp of pepper, zest of ½ a lemon and a ¼ tsp of salt
Spicy: ½ tsp granulated garlic, ¼ tsp dillweed, 1/8 tsp cumin, ¼ tsp salt, and 1 teaspoon hot sauce
Peanut butter cup: 3 tbsp honey, ½ cup of peanut butter and a pinch of salt
S’mores: ¼ cup chocolate chips, ¼ cup mini marshmallows and ¼ cup crushed graham crackers
Another alternative for chips is baked apple chips. Apple chips easy to make, crunchy and sweet! They can be eaten on their own, added to salads, oatmeal or granola to add extra flavour.
3 large apples (they can be Honeycrisp, jazz, pink lady, Macintosh, Cortland)
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ tsp of granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
Wash and core your apples
Slice the apples horizontally into 1/8-inch rounds
Arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer
Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon, sugar and salt
Bake for 1 hour, or until crisp
Felicia Newell is a Registered Dietitian, Sport Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, and a mom of 4 boys under 8! She is also the owner of Sustain Nutrition and is partnered with The Energy Company. Felicia wears many hats, and knows what it is like to try and live healthy in a busy world, where our environments aren't always supportive of making healthy choices.
Life is busy, confusing at times, and full of contradictions, especially in the world of health and wellness. Felicia is passionate in helping others fight through the misinformation out there, and to navigate life and health, but most importantly, to enjoy it while doing it.
She has over 11 years of education and experience in Nutritional Sciences. Between completing her Bachelor and Masters in Nutritional Sciences, personal training certification, teaching university courses, years of nutrition counselling helping people crush their goals, and being a busy mom of 4 young boys, she has the passion, skills, education, and experience to help you reach your health and wellness in a way that works for YOU.