Who doesn’t love healthy holiday treats, right? I strive to live by the 90/10 rule, meaning 90% of the time I eat as clean and healthy as I can, but that doesn’t mean deprivation. We eat amazingly delicious healthy meals. And 10% of the time I eat whatever I want! Does that surprise you? The more surprising thing to me is that because I read labels to know WHAT is in things—and because I know what those ingredients actually DO to my body—I don’t even want some of the things I used to crave.
Seriously, my list of fav “treats” used to include Skittles and Jolly Ranchers (full of artificial coloring/flavoring, and high fructose corn syrup), Red Vines (full of wheat/gluten, artificial coloring/flavoring plus high fructose corn syrup), Berry Pop-Tarts (again wheat/gluten, high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring/flavoring), you get the point… Even though I used to love and crave those foods, today you likely couldn’t pay me to eat them. As the saying goes, “once you know, you can’t unknow.” And, “when you know better, you do better.” And since I KNOW what those ingredients do to my body (ie: cause inflammation, excess body fat, and brain fog just to name a few), it’s definitely NOT a treat for me to harm my one and only body.
So I opt for healthy holiday treats instead. And I’m sharing a few of my fav recipes with you here. These healthy holiday treats fall into my 10% rule. And they are mostly “healthy” although they do contain a bit of organic coconut sugar, maple syrup, or molasses. But they also contain other healthy ingredients, like cocoa powder (an amazing antioxidant and also a good source of magnesium), almonds (rich in magnesium and healthy fats), coconut oil (a great healthy fat), pomegranate seeds (among the highest antioxidants of any fruit), and pumpkin seeds (full of protein, vitamin K, iron, and zinc), or ginger (immune balancing and anti-inflammatory). Plus, these healthy holiday treats taste SO good, no one will know they are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan!
Are you ready to try some Dark Chocolate Christmas Bark with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds, or Vegan Dark Chocolate Salted Truffles, or how about a slice of Spicy GF Gingerbread Cake?
Let’s get making these healthy holiday treats! Your friends and family will love them too. And if you’re still looking for some DIY holiday gift ideas box some of these up with a pretty bow.
These Vegan Dark Chocolate Truffles are super-yummy, quick, and easy healthy holiday treats. You can experiment with other flavors too. Try a couple of drops of peppermint oil in the chocolate, with a sprinkle with crushed candy cane on top. [Or make your own dark chocolate peanut butter cups! Fill each mini-muffin cup half-way with chocolate. Put a spoonful of peanut butter into each cup, then top with remaining chocolate. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts.] Get creative and leave a comment to share what flavors you made.
Salted Dark Chocolate Truffles
- 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
- 1/2 cup 85% dark choclate chips
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup almonds finely chopped
- sea salt
- Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler on low heat. Remove from heat when melted.
- Stir in coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Stir until cocoa powder is througly mixed in and no lumps.
- Fold in chopped almonds.
- Pour into mini muffin pan (greased) or chocolate molds.
- Sprinkle tops with sea salt
- Refrigerate for 6-8 hours before removing from pan or mold.
- Store in refrigerator. They will melt if left out at room temperature for too long.
This Dark Chocolate Christmas Bark is really one of my new FAV healthy holiday treats. I adapted this from another recipe I saw that was more like rocky-road. Since we had several pomegranates and lots of pumpkin seeds I thought that would look so pretty for Christmas. And wow do they taste fab too.
Dark Chocolate Christmas Bark
- 1/2 cup 85% dark choolate chips
- 1 TBSP coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds*
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
- 1/4 cup mini marshmallows (optional), cut in quarters*
- sea salt, to sprinkle on top (fine or medium)
- Lightly grease a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides
- Melt the chocolate chips in a double-boiler on low heat, or in a microwave
- While the chocolate is melting, sprinkle the pomegranate and pumpkin seeds on the cookie sheet or pan, mixing well. Then sprinkle with the cocoa nibs. For more sweetness and chewy fun, add 1/4 cup mini marshmallows*, cut in quarters.
- Whisk the melted coconut oil into the melted chocolate chips.
- Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the seeds on the pan, covering all the seeds. Use a spatula if necessary to coat seeds in chocolate, and spread evenly in pan. (It won't likely reach to the edges unless you double the recipe.)
- Sprinkle chocolate with fine- or medium-grind sea salt
- Put pan in fridge to cool completly, 6-8hours, then break bark up into pieces.
This delicious traditional holiday treat was adapted from King Arthur Baking to make it vegan and slightly healthier. Their original recipe called for it to be baked in a 9×9 pan. But I prefer my gingerbread cake more like a pound cake, so I make it in a bread loaf pan. These would also make great mini-muffins. If you experiment with different pan sizes, be sure to alter oven temperature and/or length of baking time.
GF Gingerbread Cake
- 2 cups GF/Paleo baking flour
- 1/2 tsp tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar (optional)*
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP ginger, powdered
- 1 TBSP cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves, ground
- 1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup tangarine or satsuma juice, fresh squeezed
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg/replacer equivalent
- 1 cup coconut milk or other nut milk
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, diced (optional)
- 1/4 cup currents (optional)
- 1 tsp tangerine/clementine zest
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a bread pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, tapioca flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.
- Melt coconut oil and add molasses to it, then pour into dry ingredients, mixing well.
- Whisk together water, vanilla, egg, and coconut milk. Stir into the batter until it's thoroughly mixed. Stir in the crystallized ginger, currents, and tangerine zest.
- Pour the batter into the greased and floured bread pan, and let sit on the counter for 15 minutes.
- Bake for 60 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from the edge of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes before slicing.
- Serve warm with whipped coconut cream.
Happy Holidays, enjoy these healthy holiday treats! Please leave a comment to let us know which one/s you tried, and any yummy substitutions you made.