Healthy Holiday Treats
The holiday season is a magical time full of tradition, joy, celebrations, and treasured family recipes. It can also be a time where our healthy habits tend to take a back seat. Increased amounts of sugary, fatty, or salty foods compounded with a decrease in physical activity, can leave you feeling sluggish and more prone to stress. Factoring in healthy recipes and exercise can help you make the most of your holiday!
Cooking with your health in mind
CMC Dietary has curated a few holiday treats that you can easily make at home. Packed with beneficial ingredients, these treats won’t leave your holiday cheer tank on empty. They also make a great holiday gift for neighbors, teachers or friends!
Heart Healthy Ingredients
“Walnuts are a great source of heart healthy fats” shares CMC Registered Dietitian, Courtney Fuller. She continues “These healthy fats (polyunsaturated fat) can improve cholesterol levels.” With just 8 ingredients, these spiced Walnuts are the perfect snack to make in bulk and share with family and friends. According to Courtney, “Walnuts contain high mounts of DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) which can improve cognitive performance in adults.”
- 1 egg white
- 3 cups raw walnuts
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ¾ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or smoky paprika
- 2 Tbs orange juice or apple cider
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
- Whip the egg white into a foam and coat the walnuts
- Mix the sugar, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper (Or Paprika) together. Sprinkle over egg white-coated walnuts and mix well. Add the orange juice and mix well.
- Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the walnuts halfway to help them toast and crisp up on each side.
*Walnuts will harden and crisp after they’ve been removed from the oven and cooled.
Chocolate lovers will love this pistachio bark
There is something so festive about making a chocolate bark. There are so many fun and healthy variations and the options are limitless! For this bark, we’re using 60% dark chocolate, low carb/high protein pistachios, and pomegranate arils for a pop of color and flavor.
Pistachios are a nutritional and delicious addition to your holiday
Did you know that an ounce or one serving of pistachios is approximately 49 nuts? “Pistachios are a great low carb, high protein food full of heart healthy fatty acids. One serving of pistachios contains 8 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 11 grams of unsaturated fats,” states Courtney.
When baking this season, consider swapping out milk chocolate for dark
In addition to these nutritious nuts, the dark chocolate adds a delicious component. According to Courtney, “Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols, which may lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation over time.” Of all the chocolates, dark chocolate contains the least amount of added sugar compared to milk or white versions. Courtney adds “Dark chocolate is a great option for individuals who are looking for a sweet treat while controlling their glucose levels.”
Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark
- ½ cup chopped unsalted pistachio nuts
- 2 tbs dried cranberries
- 1lb of at least 60% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 1/8 sea salt
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan, bring a cup of water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Place a heat-proof medium bowl on top of the saucepan to make a double boiler. Add the chocolate to the bowl and cook, stirring gently with a wooden spoon until the. Mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Spoon the chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading the edges evenly with a spatula.
- Evenly sprinkle the chocolate with the pistachios, cranberries, and sea salt.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator for about 45 minutes, until the chocolate sets. Break bark into pieces and enjoy!
Conway Medical Center Nutrition Services- Eating for life
CMC offers Outpatient Nutrition Services for patients struggling with their health. If you have been prescribed a special diet by your physician or if you want to learn more about healthy eating, CMC has the tools to help create healthier nutritional habits.
Diabetes and Nutrition
Many individuals with diabetes find that working with a Registered Dietitian can be a valuable tool in managing there diabetes. If you are looking for diabetic care, consider CMC Endocrinology.
Do I need a referral?
A physician’s order is required to schedule an appointment with CMC Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Services. If you do not currently have a primary care provider, consider establishing care with one of our outstanding primary care clinics. When you meet with your primary care provider, you can request a referral into our program.