Sweet Cheats to Holiday the Healthy Way Plus Bonus Recipes for Banana Nut Bread & Apple Crisp

 by Susan U. Neal in Leading Hearts Magazine

When you eat healthy during the holidays your energy level remains high so you can keep up with a multitude of tasks. The last thing you need is brain fog and lethargy due to a poor diet. This article navigates the tempting delicacies with helpful holiday eating tips and recipes.

Use Fresh, Raw Ingredients

The trick to eating the right type of foods is to consume them as close to their harvest as possible. When you eat foods closer to their original form, you will become full with smaller portions because the food contains fiber. Therefore, the feeling of fullness stays with you for a longer period too, so you don’t want to snack as much.

Make dishes using fresh, raw ingredients such as sautéed fresh green beans with garlic and slivered almonds versus the typical green bean casserole. The fresh green beans are nutritious and delicious. Fresh, raw foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and all the nutrients the human body needs—the way God intended for you to eat.

In December, pecans are harvested in the south. I buy thirty pounds of cracked pecans and shell them. I use them in many holiday recipes. They are a high protein snack. I freeze the pecans in mason jars to use throughout the year. What type of nuts grow in your area and how can use them?

Recently I brought a broccoli pomegranate salad to a Friendsgiving dinner. It contained fresh broccoli, pomegranate, pecans, sunflower seeds, and yellow raisins. Everyone at the dinner raved about the salad, and several people requested the recipe (see recipe below). Pinterest is an excellent place to find many nutritious recipes.


When baking, use coconut or almond flour instead of wheat flour. Also, try using sugar substitutes such as stevia and monk fruit sweetener. Both rank zero on the glycemic index and have no calories! You can make desserts that are just as tasty as the usual sugar-laden ones.

Over Thanksgiving my college-aged daughters made a delicious apple crisp using oats and banana bread (recipes below) using coconut flour. One of my daughters is gluten sensitive and the other is lactose intolerant; yet we made delectable deserts out of wholesome, organic ingredients.

Holiday Parties

At holiday parties, avoid eating foods made with sugar and wheat. Instead, eat nuts, vegetables, and fruits. Guacamole and hummus are healthy dips too. These foods are just as appetizing, and they won’t contribute to brain fog.

Be sure to serve yourself smaller portions. Think of your stomach as the size of your fist. Put less food on your plate than you think you will eat. Using a smaller plate may help.

As soon as you feel full, stop eating and wait a few minutes. Many times you won’t feel hungry anymore since it takes a little while for your brain to recognize your stomach reached its capacity. If you stop eating at the first sign you feel the sensation of fullness, in five minutes your brain receptors catch up with the feeling in your stomach.

80/20 Percent Rule
Don’t make your expectations too high. Use the 80/20 rule: eat well 80 percent of the time, but 20% of the time splurge. Eating healthy during the holidays is not an all-or-nothing situation. If you don’t eat healthy 100 percent of the time, don’t have the mindset that you failed. Instead, give yourself grace as God does. Try to do well, but if you don’t eat correctly 20 percent of the time, that’s okay. It’s probably better than the way you ate before.

Keep your energy up during the holidays by avoiding wheat and sugar which contribute to brain fog and lethargy. Whip up delicious, healthy recipes using wheat and sugar substitutes. Also give yourself grace, as God does, to splurge a little but try not to overdo it.

Here’s to Your Health Holiday Treats:

Banana Nut Bread

6 eggs

½ cup honey

½ cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

¾ cup coconut flour

2 mashed bananas

½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Mix all ingredients, pour in a loaf pan, and bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees.

Apple Crisp

6 chopped apples

1 orange, zested and juiced

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ cup honey


¼ cup baking stevia

½ cup melted butter

¾ cup organic oats

¾ cup coconut flour

Mix first five ingredients and place in a baking pan. Stir topping ingredients and pour over apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes. Serve with almond or coconut milk whipped cream or non-dairy vanilla ice cream.

You can find recipes like these in Susan Neal’s award-winning book, 7 Steps to Get Off the Sugar and Carbohydrates and all the other titles of her Healthy Living Series Books, available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon.


Leave a Reply