HealthONE - December 17, 2018

During the holiday season, it’s hard to resist all the yummy and sweet treats available at family get-togethers, office parties and other celebratory shindigs this time of year.

Especially for kids, overindulging on holiday treats and snacks isn’t good for their health — or their waistline. However, there are some healthier options you can whip up for yourself or your kids over the holidays. Here are some guilt-free — yet delicious — holiday treat recipes that are both healthy and easy to prepare:

Strawberry Santa Hats
Containing fewer than 50 calories per cup, strawberries are a much healthier alternative to other sweet treats. Strawberries are also low in fat and loaded with more vitamin C than a medium-sized orange.

To make Strawberry Santa Hats, whip ¼ cup of nonfat ricotta cheese with half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Remove the leafy green tops from one cup of strawberries and slice the pointed tip off each strawberry. Add a dollop of the ricotta mixture to the top of the strawberry, giving your Strawberry Santa a “hat.” Complete Santa’s face by adding two mini dark chocolate chips to the strawberry. This dessert only contains about 100 calories.

Red and Green Sandwich Wraps
These festive-looking sandwich wraps are the perfect healthy holiday snack for both kids and adults. You can also make them using leftovers from a big holiday meal.

To make these sandwiches, spread one-half of a ripe avocado on an 8-inch whole wheat tortilla. Add three ounces of lean turkey breast, ½ cup shredded lettuce, ½ cup sliced tomato and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Next, roll your wrap burrito-style and cut into 2-inch thick rounds. Half of each wrap contains about 200 calories.

Healthier Holiday Party Mix
Many of us love to munch on salty and crunchy snacks, like pretzels, chips, peanuts and popcorn, at holiday gatherings. This healthier version cuts back on the sodium and the calories. Bring a batch of this to your next holiday party for your little ones to gobble up when they get hungry — instead of grazing the dessert table all evening.

To make this holiday party mix, combine 3 cups of Chex rice cereal, 1 cup unsalted peanuts, 3 cups of multigrain cereal O’s (like Cheerios) and 1 cup of unsweetened raisins. One ½ cup serving of this holiday mix contains 125 calories — and is more filling than a same-size serving of potato chips.

Dark Chocolate-Dipped Apple Slices
Caramel apples are a favorite holiday treat for many, but eating a whole apple covered in caramel can easily give you a sugar high.

One apple is just 95 calories and contains natural, not artificial, sugars. When the dessert table is loaded with cookies, brownies, cakes and more, it can be hard to encourage youngsters to eat a piece of fruit instead. One solution is to dip apple wedges into melted dark chocolate, which adds some sweetness without overdoing it on the sugar. To entice kids further, sprinkle each apple slice with unsweetened shredded coconut or chopped nuts.

Good Tidings & Cheer Dark Chocolate Bark
Break-apart chocolate bark is always a hit at holiday parties — and can be a healthier alternative to other sweet treats.

To make your own holiday bark, melt 16 ounces of dark chocolate over a double broiler. Stir constantly to prevent burning the chocolate. Line a baking sheet or a wide, flat dish with parchment paper. Then, spread the melted chocolate onto the pan in a thin, even layer. Next, sprinkle pumpkin seeds, dried goji berries and coconut flakes on top. You can also try adding dried blueberries or coconut shreds. The dark chocolate bark will harden on its own.