Sweet and savory ways to indulge during the holidays without sabotaging your wellness goals
One of the greatest pleasures of the holidays is enjoying traditional flavors of the season. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to indulge without discarding all your wellness goals. You can enjoy festive foods if you plan ahead for holiday events, and make dishes that aren't loaded with carbs and sugar - but still satisfy your cravings.
"It's easy to throw your wellness goals out the window during the season, thinking you can make up for it later," said Colette Heimowitz, vice president, Nutrition & Education, Simply Good Foods. "But with a few smart choices, you can celebrate the season without jeopardizing your nutrition goals."
Here are some tips - and recipes - to help you indulge more thoughtfully this year.
Prep for healthier holiday gatherings
When you know you'll be celebrating at an event chock full of carbs and sweets, plan ahead.
* Keep your energy up while prepping for holiday get-togethers by enjoying an Atkins Vanilla Latte Iced Coffee Protein Shake, with 15 grams of protein, 1 gram of sugar and as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
* Don't arrive at a party famished so you're less tempted to overindulge. Eat a small low-carbohydrate meal beforehand, like salmon and salad with olive oil dressing or veggies and guacamole, to stabilize your appetite and blood sugar level.
* Don't linger near the food table. But if you are planning to partake in the buffet, opt for protein, veggies, dips, nuts and cheese.
* Drink plenty of water. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so staying hydrated helps you avoid overeating. Flavor up your water with lemon, lime or cucumber slices.
Look for keto-friendly recipes to grace your holiday table
Try these tasty, low-carb recipes developed by an Atkins nutritionist to share at holiday gatherings - or just enjoy between festivities.
Keto Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
These delectable cookies blend the tangy sweetness of cranberries, a hint of almond and an orange zest icing - and may become your new holiday favorite.
Prep time: 260 minutes (20 minutes prep; 4 hours in refrigerator); Cook time: 12 minutes
1/3 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons water, divided
2 tablespoons Truvia Sweet Complete
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/3 cup Truvia (erythritol-stevia blend)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup confectioners erythritol
1/2 tablespoon orange zest
1. In small saucepan over medium heat, bring cranberries, 1 tablespoon water and 2 tablespoons Truvia to a simmer. Cook until cranberries pop - about 10 minutes from fresh or 15 minutes from frozen. Set aside to cool.
2. In bowl of stand mixer, cream together room temperature butter and 1/3 cup Truvia until lightened and fluffy. Add vanilla extract, almond extract and cranberries, mixing until well combined.
Add sifted almond flour and xanthan, mixing on low until just combined.
Create 6-inch-long log of dough on sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours, until very solid. Cookies will spread significantly if not chilled adequately.
3. Heat oven to 350 F and prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut cold dough into 12, 1/2-inch thick rounds and place on baking sheet, cut side down.
Bake 11-13 minutes until bottom edges are golden brown. Watch closely the last few minutes to ensure cookies don't burn.
Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then gently place on cooling rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes. These cookies will be very crumbly until completely cooled.
4. While cookies cool, in small bowl, use fork to combine confectioners erythritol and water to form paste. Dip (or drizzle) cooled cookies in icing, applying about 4 grams icing per cookie. Sprinkle icing with orange zest and allow icing to set.
Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days, or in freezer up to 3 months.
Makes 12 servings. One iced cookie is one serving.
Low-Carb Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hazelnuts
This quick and easy salad takes 15 minutes to make. It combines fresh, thinly shaved Brussels sprouts with a flavorful dressing of olive oil, shallots and thyme - plus sugar-free maple syrup for a hint of sweetness. Roasted hazelnuts and pomegranate arils on top add more taste and texture while giving the salad a colorful, festive holiday look. See the full recipe at Atkins.com/recipes.
For more healthy lifestyle tips and low-carb recipes, visit Atkins.com.