Healthy treats for the holidays

Enjoy these tasty, tooth-friendly treats with your family this holiday season.

Nothing quite makes the holiday season like getting together with family to share decadent meals and delicious desserts. However, holiday food doesn’t need to be full of sugar to be enjoyed by everyone in your family.

By swapping traditional holiday treats for healthier options you’re going to save your waistline from notorious Christmas weight gain and keep your family’s smiles cavity-free.

Here are a few of our favorite ideas for healthy holiday desserts, snacks, and side dishes! Feel free to try out the exact recipes we’ve included or use them to inspire your own twists on yummy holiday treats.

1. Swap the hot chocolate for homemade warm spiced apple cider.

Hot cocoa with marshmallows is a delightful beverage for those cold winter days, but many recipes are fairly high in sugar and fat. For a lighter beverage that kids will love just as much try making homemade spiced apple cider. Not only is homemade apple cider easy to make, but it also allows you to customize the recipe. For less sugar, you can substitute a tooth-friendly sweetener, such as stevia.

Check out this recipe for homemade apple cider.

2. Put a healthy twist on classic pumpkin pie with the help of coconut milk.

Pumpkin pie is a classic dessert for Thanksgiving but it’s truly appropriate for any time during the fall and winter holiday season. Pumpkin pie tends to be high in fat, though it does have less sugar than some other types of fruit pies. You can push it even further to the guilt-free side by using coconut milk in your recipe.

This Healthy Pumpkin Pie recipe is so creamy and delicious your kids won’t even know it has less sugar than typical recipes.

3. Skip the sweet potato casserole and go for a side of equally delicious honey roasted sweet potato.

Sweet potato casserole is a very traditional dish for many families, with kids and adults alike happily indulging in its marshmallow-topped goodness. It goes without saying that sweet potato casserole is very much a dessert and is far from a healthy option.

If your family loves their sweet potatoes but you want to cut sugar, try out this recipe for roasted sweet potatoes with honey and cinnamon. Roasting sweet potato brings out its natural sweetness. The additional drizzled honey and cinnamon put the finishing touch on this indulgent side dish.

4. Gingerbread loaf has all the flavors of the holidays without the sticky sweetness of fruitcake.

Fruitcake—your family either loves it or hates it. But if your kids love the sticky sweetness of fruitcake, you might be interested in finding a healthier alternative that isn’t loaded with candied fruit. Gingerbread loaf is the perfect healthy alternative that won’t wreak havoc on your family’s teeth.

Gingerbread loaf is very similar to fruitcake as it’s a similar density and shares many of the same spices. This pumpkin gingerbread loaf recipe is fairly simple but quite delicious and moist. If you really enjoy a sweet kick, you could add in some candied ginger for a fruitcake-like finish without as much sugar.

5. Use maple syrup or stevia to sweeten your holiday fudge recipes.

For families that love chocolate, fudge is often a favorite. Unfortunately, most traditional fudge recipes are incredibly high in sugar and far from tooth-friendly. That being said, you can find healthier alternatives for fudge that use sugar alternatives.

If your kids love peanut butter you might try this peanut butter chocolate recipe that uses a small amount of pure maple syrup instead of processed sugars or artificial sweeteners. For something unique and vegan-friendly, this pumpkin almond butter freezer fudge is definitely worth making.

6. Baked apples are healthy, loaded with rich flavor, and less sugar than apple pie.

Apple pie, apple crumble, apple cobbler, and apple crisp are all very popular holiday desserts. A really easy way to enjoy the apple flavors this Christmas is to make baked apples. Baked apples typically use a large sweet apple stuffed with a tasty mix of spices, butter, graham crackers, and a small amount of sugar. Once baked the apples become tender, soft, and sweet, plus each apple is basically one serving size (though young kids may share).

We really like this baked apple recipe. Feel free to play around with the ingredients as you see fit!

On the subject of holidays, have you booked your kids’ end of the year dental appointments?

The holidays are a super busy time for families, especially for the parents who are in charge of it all. As the season picks up it’s easy to forget that your kids may be due for their next dental cleaning or oral health checkup. You can take care of this task now by booking their dental appointments with Must Love Kids today.

To schedule their appointments, you can either call our Vancouver office or fill out this online form. We also encourage new families to complete these online registration forms before their first appointment.