Healthy Holidays does not have to be an oxymoron. You can indulge in the tastes of the season while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As a bonus you’ll feel better at the end of the month and you’ll be setting a good example for your tween or teen as they embark on the next phase of their life. One of the unfortunate side effects of pre-puberty can be weight gain so helping your child learn how to make healthy choices can have positive effects long after the holidays are over.

Here are some ideas to help you make tradition holiday treats healthier this season.

1: Substitute whole wheat flour for white flour. This works for a wide variety of baked goods from chocolate chip cookies to sugar cookies. You can make the substitution half whole wheat flour and half white flour or experiment with replacing all the white for whole wheat.

2:  Add oatmeal to treats. When you add oatmeal, especially rolled oats or steel-cut oats, to your treats like cookies or even cakes, you’ll get additional fiber and essential nutrients and antioxidants. Look for a no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe. They’re delicious and if you combine this tip with the next one, would be especially nutrisious.

3: Use dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is very nutritious. It is a powerful source of antioxidants and may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. It can even raise your good cholesterol and improve your brainpower. You can make your own dark chocolate bars with cocoa powder, honey and vanilla extract.

4: Add nuts. Besides being packed with protein, nuts contain heart healthy substances and are loaded with anti-oxidants. Pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, macadamias, Brazil nuts and walnuts are among the healthiest nuts you can find. A handful of any of these chopped up would make cookies extra delicious or you could add them into peppermint bark or chocolate bark. Hazelnut cookies are one of my favorite treats from my childhood.

5: Add dried fruit. Because most of the water is extracted from dried fruits, their nutrients are condensed into a small package. Dried fruits like apricots, raisins, prunes and figs contain high amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium and because they add extra sweetness to desserts, you might be able to cut back on additional sugar. Consider adding them to peppermint or chocolate bark, cookies, cakes or homemade granola bars.

6: Make a whole wheat graham cracker crust. You’ll cut down on calories and processed flour when you use graham cracker crusts instead of a traditional pastry crust. Use whole-wheat crackers to make the crust and you might add additional fiber to your dessert.

7: Use almond milk. If you want to lower calories or make a lactose free dessert use almond milk instead of traditional milk. You can even boost the flavor by using vanilla flavored almond milk.

8: Use organic stevia. Stevia is naturally very sweet – like up to 200 times sweeter than sugar – but it doesn’t raise sugar levels like sugar or other artificial sweeteners do plus most have 0 calories.

Just like every parent, we at Fresh Kidz, want the best for our children. Tweens and teens are at a very impressionable age where they are developing their habits for life. We’re committed to helping our children make healthy choices and know you are too. When it comes to beauty and bath care products for tweens and teens, Fresh Kidz is committed to making the best, all natural, chemical free deodorant. It’s easy on children’s delicate skin but effective at fighting body odor. With fresh scents for both boys and girls, we’re sure you’ll find one that will delight your child’s senses while keeping them odor free.

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