By Valerie Pulley, RDN
MARTIN’S Food Markets
“Tis the holiday season and a wonderful time to connect with family and friends! Of course, it’s also the time when we are surrounded by endless amounts of traditional holiday indulgences such as baked goods and sweets. Any party is bound to be brimming with tons of cookies for the cookie swap, cakes of all kinds and festive candy.
Check out these festive holiday ideas for avoiding sugar overload and incorporating some fun, tasty treats that your little ones and yourself are sure to love.
Warm up with festive holiday drinks that are low in sugar.
- HOLIDAY HOT CHOCOLATE – Warm up milk or an unsweetened milk alternative (nut or soy) on the stove or in the microwave. Add unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract and a touch of sweetener (such as Stevia). Great way to warm up on a cold night!
- SPARKLING BEVERAGE – Splash 100% juice in sparkling water and top with orange slices. Serve in a glass or in a pitcher for a party.
- WARM SPICED STEAMER – Mix milk with favorite spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg then warm on the stove or microwave. Add some vanilla extract and enjoy this cozy treat before bed-time.
Serve up fun fruit and veggie treats as appetizers or snacks.
- BANANA STICK SNOWMEN – Slice a banana and slide 3 slices onto a kabob stick. Cut carrot slivers for the noses and use mini chocolate chips for the eyes and buttons. Pretzel sticks make great arms.
- GRINCH FRUIT KABOB – Slide a green grape, a banana slice and one strawberry (with top cut off) onto a toothpick. Top with a mini marshmallow for a hat. Great treat for a snack or party!
- CHRISTMAS TREE VEGGIE PLATTER – Arrange broccoli florets in the shape of a Christmas tree. Decorate with cherry tomatoes and carrot slices as ornaments and slices of red pepper for the garland. Cut celery makes a great stump. Top with a star cut out of a yellow bell pepper.
- CHRISTMAS TREE PITAS – Cut pita bread into triangle shaped wedges, spread with guacamole and decorate with ornaments using chopped red bell pepper. Place half a thin pretzel stick in the bottom for the trunk.
- SNOWMAN SANDWICH – Use cookie cutters or a drinking glass to cut out circles in the bread. Spread your favorite nut butter and layer with your favorite sliced fruit between two round slices. Decorate the bread to resemble a snowman – use blueberries for the eyes and smile and a sliced carrot for the nose.
The MARTIN’S nutritionists wish you all a healthy, happy holiday!
For more healthy tips, visit MARTIN’S online or call to schedule a consultation with Valerie or with Caroline Roessler, in-store nutritionist at MARTIN’S new Midlothian store!
Valerie Pulley, RDN has more than 23 years of experience as a registered dietitian and is currently the Richmond area in-store nutritionist for MARTIN’S Food Markets. As a working mom of two daughters, Valerie relates well to the challenges today’s moms face trying to establish and maintain healthy habits for a busy lifestyle. She is committed to offering practical advice based on up-to-date medical information to help families make sustainable healthy changes to their lifestyle. To get a plan tailored to you, call Valerie at 804-364-3644 to set up a one-on-one consultation.