Healthy Holiday Gifting

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
- Mother Theresa

If you are on an airplane, the stewardess will remind you to place the mask over your own face before helping someone else place the mask over their face. The same principle applies to how we live.. By taking care of ourselves first we have so much more to give to others.

One of the ways in which we can take care of ourselves and also give to others is through health cooking and eating. I love to bake which is a gift I give myself.  And of course, unless I intend to eat it all myself, this gift is joyfully passed along to others.

For me, healthy baking means I do a little satisfying of the conventional sweet tooth and a little satisfying of my need for health. Healthy (and even not so healthy) baking makes for wonderful gifts, so let’s get started with a healthy twist on an old favorite recipe. Below you will see how I substitute traditional ingredients with healthier alternatives:

Ingredients Needed:

  • 60-70% dark chocolate chips
  • Grape seed oil, walnut oil, olive oil or coconut oil
  • Coconut flour, almond flour, millet flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, xanthum gum, tapioca flour; or some combination of the flours
  • Aluminum free baking soda and baking powder
  • Gluten free oats
  • Raisins and or chopped dates
  • Dark and good quality cocoa
  • Brown rice crispies
  • Cage free farmers eggs
  • Almond milk, rice milk, and/or coconut milk
  • Xylitol, erythritol, stevia, brown rice syrup, or some combination for sweeteners
  • Chopped nuts
  • Natural almond butter or peanut butter without added sugars
  • Strawberry or raspberry jam

With these ingredients, you can take a recipe you love and substitute the above sugars, flours, shortening, dairy for what is called for in the recipe.
It is amazing how using a little ingenuity, and/or following a favorite recipe with these ingredients instead of using white sugar, white or wheat flour, margarine or butter, milk chocolate, or sweetened nut butters can make such a difference.

To add to the fun wrap them up in beautiful wrapping and decorative bags and ribbons. If holidays get busy for you, remember you can bake them now in advance and freeze them and they turn out just as fresh when defrosted as made last minute.  Happy baking and gifting!

Recommended Resources with Links:

In having fun with the above ingredients, here are some great cook books with fun recipes to play with and/or follow:

1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarain Recipes by Sue Spitler

Christina Cooks, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Whole Foods, by Christina Pirello


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