5 Healthy Holiday Snacks5 Healthy Holiday Snacks

Holiday sweets can often catch your eye with their festive colors and designs and their tempting sense of immediate pleasure, but they may not be as sweet as you think.

The Not-So-Sweet Truth:

Sugar feeds cancer and creates diabesity (diabetes associated with obesity). The average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar a year (that’s roughly 22 teaspoons every day for every person in America) and about 146 pounds of flour a year. Diabesity affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide. Scientists conservatively estimate it will affect one in two Americans by 2020; 90 percent of whom will not be diagnosed,” according to Dr. Mark Hyman, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. 

Additionally, sugar is incredibly addictive. In fact, sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine. So, there’s a reason why holiday treats are almost impossible to resist once eaten.

The Sweet Solution:

So, how can you and your loved ones satisfy a sweet tooth during the holiday season? Simply add more naturally sweet foods to your diet to help lessen sugar cravings.

Here are five seasonal sweets that are delicious, colorful and perfect for the holidays:

1. Pomegranates

These vibrant, deep-red fruits are known to fight heart disease and cancer. Pomegranate seeds are particularly tasty and they are wonderful toppings for yogurt, oatmeal and salads. The juice is also flavorful, but be sure to read the ingredients on any packaged juices. Added sugars could be lurking in them.

2. Apples

Remember the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” This certainly holds true if it’s replacing sugary, unhealthy sweets. There are many varieties of apples and they can be eaten in numerous ways: alone, with a dip such as almond butter, or within foods such as oatmeal, sandwiches and salads. Just remember to buy organic apples, as they are the top food on EWG’s dirty dozen list for high pesticide levels/exposure.

3. Grapefruits

These citrus fruits taste sweet and sour and are rich in disease-fighting nutrients. Grapefruits are wonderful eaten alone, as a juice or added as a flavorful enhancement to a variety of dishes. Note: Grapefruit juice is known to interact with some medications so be sure to check with a doctor before adding them to your diet or your loved ones’ diet.

4. Carrots

These colorful root vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked in warming foods such as soup and spaghetti. Carrots also make great additions to breads/muffins and salads and they are even tasty in juice form. Carrots are good for your eyes, plus they help fight disease and detox the body.

5. Sweet Potatoes

These root vegetables are certainly sweet, filling and loaded with health-promoting nutrients. They are great eaten alone as a baked potato, as a side dish alongside a protein or other vegetables or even within foods such as a quinoa salad. And, they can also take many forms: whole, mashed, diced, etc.

Who says holiday sweets have to be loaded with sugar, calories and artificial colors? This season, enjoy sweets that nourish your body and fight disease rather than feed it.

Natalie Drugan is a nutrition and lifestyle health coach. Natalie is dedicated to helping others make healthy choices centered on clean food, toxic-free environments and happy living. Natalie received her nutrition health coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, the world’s largest nutrition school. As a Certified Nutrition Health Coach, she studied over 100 dietary theories and learned from world-renowned experts and doctors including Andrew Weil, MD, Walter Willet, MD, Mark Hyman, MD and Deepak Chopra, MD. Natalie is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). Additionally, Natalie received her BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University.

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