During the holidays, we are often tempted to indulge. We may get swept up in festive treats that are fun in the moment, but can cause mood swings and energy crashes later.
Traditional holiday treats are often glutenous pastries, high in refined sugar. with little nutritional value. These carbs can cause inflammation and blood sugar levels to spike. Because cortisol (the stress hormone) helps maintain blood sugar levels, significantly increasing sugar can throw off cortisol levels. Eating too many sweets during the holidays can cause the body to go into fight-or-flight mode more frequently. Indulging in too many comfort carbs can actually cause a vicious cycle that increases irritability and stress.
For those who are diabetic, gluten-intolerant, lactose-intolerant, or vegan, navigating the holidays can be a challenge. If you’d prefer to nourish your body and give more intentional gifts to your loved ones, there are healthier options to celebrate holiday cheer. Try these simple, low-carb, gluten-free holiday treat recipes to enjoy the season and maintain balance at the same time.
Gluten-Free Fudge-Dipped Almond Cookies
These paleo, gluten-free, vegan cookies include nutritious almonds, almond butter and almond flour. Almonds contain vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, healthy fats, and fiber for a wide range of health benefits. Just 1 ounce of almonds contains one-eighth of the recommended daily dose of protein.
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 Tbsp. coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- pinch salt
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, divided
- 2 Tbsp. almond butter
- 1/4 cup + 1/2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup, divided
- 1 small handful almonds, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- Make the cookies: Set the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine, making sure to remove all clumps.
- In another small bowl, melt 1 Tbsp. coconut oil. Add almond butter and 1/4 cup maple syrup, and stir well to combine.
- Add wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until combined. The dough will be sticky. Add chopped almonds and mix.
- Measure out tablespoon-sized mounds of cookie dough and roll into balls. Stick cookies on the prepared baking sheet, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and flatten them slightly with a measuring cup. Bake 1-2 additional minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack. Cookies will harden slightly as they cool.
- While the cookies are cooling, make the fudge: Melt 1 Tbsp. coconut oil. Add cocoa powder and 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Mix until smooth.
- Assemble your Fudge-Dipped Almond Cookies: Dip cooled cookies in fudge. Place on cooling rack to set. Yields one dozen cookies.
Gluten-Free Pecan Pie Bars
Traditional pecan pie includes corn syrup. These paleo, gluten-free, low-carb bars include maple syrup and coconut sugar which cut the overall sugar intake in half. Plus, pecans are a good source of protein, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which can help lower blood pressure.
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup melted ghee *cooled* or butter
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup melted ghee or butter
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
- 2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Optional: Maldon sea salt
- Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees
- Prepare an 8×8 Baking Pan with parchment paper and spray the pan and parchment with cooking spray. It’s very important to prevent sticking.
- Mix together the maple syrup, ghee (be sure it’s cooled), egg, vanilla, coconut flour, tapioca flour and salt. It will seem loose, but trust that the coconut flour is like a sponge and it will quickly form a dough you can press in the pan.
- Press dough into your prepared pan. Poke it lightly with a fork, but do NOT go through the crust completely.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Take it out and allow it to cool while you make the filling.
- Over medium high heat, in a medium sauce pan, add your ghee, maple syrup, coconut sugar and vanilla. Whisk constantly for about 4-5 minutes.
- Let the mixture come to a low boil for one minute so all the sugar dissolves. It’s very important to whisk constantly because sugar burns fast.
- The mixture will be slightly thicker than pancake syrup consistency.
- Take it off the heat and add in the vanilla almond milk, pecans and the 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Stir it together and make sure your crust is cool to the touch. It doesn’t have to be cool to room temp, but you should be able to pick up the pan without it being too hot.
- Pour the pecan mixture into the crust and bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes. Note: the mixture will cook down in the oven and reduce. It will still however be a little loose when you take it out. You want to see a lot of bubbling and the pecans to kind of poke through the top.
- Sprinkle the top with the flaked sea salt (if using).
- Allow the bars to cool on the counter for 1 hour. Transfer to the fridge for at least 2 hours before you cut it.
- Cut them into bars and serve. Store in the fridge wrapped in parchment in an air tight container for up to one week.
Gluten-Free Peppermint Truffles
These easy, no-bake truffle bites include only four ingredients and are dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan. They feature the fresh aroma of peppermint extract which is derived from pure peppermint oil. Peppermint extract can ease digestion, relieve headaches and has antibacterial properties.
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, (approximately 9 ounces)
- 6 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk, from a can
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- Create a double boiler. Fill a small sized pot 1/4 full with water and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and place a glass bowl on top of the pot.
- Heat the coconut milk by adding it into the bowl for 2-3 minutes until it becomes warm.
- Add the chocolate chips to the same bowl and slowly stir until the mixture has a silky smooth texture.
- Remove the bowl from the double boiler and stir in the peppermint extract.
- Place the chocolate ganache mixture in the fridge and let it cool for about 2 hours.
- Scoop out the chocolate ganache from the bowl using a small cookie scoop, then use your hands to gently roll it into a ball.
- Roll the balls immediately in cacao powder and set them on a plate.
- Place the plate in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up. Then serve and enjoy!
Gluten-Free Caramel-Date Pears
For the most nutritious holiday treat, serve refreshing fruits that are naturally gluten-free and vegan. Pears are a powerhouse fruit that can fight inflammation, promote gut and heart health, protect against certain diseases, and even aid weight loss. Dates contain iron, zinc, promote brain health and are high in antioxidants.
- 4 Bosc pears
- 6-8 Medjool dates, pitted
- 2-3 tablespoons filtered water
- 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- coconut oil for rubbing
- Preheat oven to 350 F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Wash and dry the pears and cut them lengthwise.
- Remove the seeds with a spoon or knife and rub with coconut oil. Place cut-side down onto the baking sheet and bake for 15-25 minutes until soft and and some juices ooze out.
- In the meantime, as your pears are baking, place the whole pecans in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Remove from the food processor and set aside. OR chop the pecans by hand and set aside. Heat a stainless steel skillet over medium heat and toast the pecans stirring often. This step isn’t essential but so great to add depth to the pecans when they’re toasted. Set aside.
- Add the Medjool dates and water into the food processor or high speed blender and puree until smooth. Depending on your food processor, you may need to add more dates and just a little more water at a time so it has something to grab. Also immersion blenders work great too. Just make sure it’s super smooth and runny like caramel.
- By now your pears should be baked. Place them on a serving dish and drizzle some of the date-caramel on top, sprinkle the toasted pecans on top and then some more date-caramel. Enjoy still warm.
Add these treats to Your Immune Health Package for a thoughtful, healthy holiday gift basket.
Merry, Happy, Healthy Holidays! ~ From Your NBH Wellness Family
Contact Natural Bio Health Today
Our team is dedicated to helping you and your loved ones understand the numerous factors that may be preventing optimal health. Learn more about taking control of your health. Join the wellness journey to achieve optimal health, fight disease and boost immune health to combat viruses. Visit naturalbiohealth.com.
Our team of specialists understands our patients’ concerns about office safety during the time of COVID-19. We are proud to offer telemedicine services through video and phone calls. We are also seeing patients in person at our offices, but are abiding by new, strict safety precautions. To schedule your appointment, contact us here. We serve Texans in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Round Rock, and College Station.