The holiday season is in full swing – families are gathering (virtually or while social distancing?) to eat turkey, christmas trees are going up, and we are all about to put on the holiday 15 as if we haven’t been comforting ourselves with uber eats for the last seven months to get through this pandemic. Well, we have put together a list of holiday snacks that are healthy-ish to keep you energized as you work from home through the festivities.
Apple Pie Protein Smoothie
If you are on a health kick, this holiday snack is for you. Perfect for those mornings you want to feel energized and motivated to take on the day or replenished from a hard workout, the apple pie protein smoothie is easy to make and packed with nutrients to keep you satiated for a couple of hours. It tastes like dessert but minus the guilt or the need to run around the block five times due to a sugar rush.
What you need to make this delicious dessert:
¾ cup almond milk (add more if you would like a thinner smoothie)
1 frozen banana, peeled
¼ cup old fashioned oats
1 apple, chopped in large chunks with the core removed
½ tsp ground cinnamon, or to taste
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
¼ tsp ground cloves, to taste
¼ tsp ground nutmeg, to taste
Instructions: Throw it all in a high powered blender and let the magic happen! Pro tip- a smoothie always tastes best with a straw.
Nothing sums up the smell of the holidays like a gingerbread loaf. This spicy, moist slice of cake is the perfect mid morning snack to indulge in with a cup of tea when you are feeling a bit peckish before lunch. Not only will the scent of ginger and molasses waft through your home office, but this loaf will last you all week. The recipe below is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction. She has never steered me wrong when it comes to baking!
What you need:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup unsulphured molasses or dark molasses
¾ cup hot water (my grandmother used to use orange juice for added flavor and extra moistness)
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick, softened)
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease your 9×5 inch loaf pan. Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt). Next, in a separate bowl, whisk the molasses and hot water together. In another bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract together (I know, it’s a lot of dishes but apparently this is all part of the art of baking). Then, slowly in three additions, add the dry ingredients to the molasses/water mixture. Mix each addition just until incorporated. Finally, BAKE!
After all that baking, a long day’s work, and a lot of family time, I greatly enjoy an alcoholic beverage that is also warm and cozy. Not to mention, the Irish coffee is the perfect 5 o’clock beverage. It has the caffeine you need to re-energize while also getting you in the mood for a virtual holiday bash. The best part is, this classic holiday snack only requires 4 ingredients you probably already have at home.
What you need:
2 teaspoons brown sugar if you are a stickler for making things the OG way or 2 oz of Baileys Original Irish Cream
4 oz of your favorite coffee (the stronger the brew, the better)
1.5 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 oz of heavy cream, whipped
Instructions: Fill a heatproof glass mug with boiling water to warm it up, then brew your favorite coffee. Dump the hot water out of the mug and put in the brown sugar. Separately, whip your heavy cream until you like the consistency (I prefer mine on the thicker side). Next, pour the hot coffee into the mug and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then add in the whiskey and stir again. Finally, top it off with a heaping dollop of cream.
Sweet and Spicy Holiday Nuts
This next snack is full of healthy fats and is sweet and spice and everything nice. These nuts make great holiday gifts and nibbles when you are looking for something to pop in your mouth every couple of minutes. Keep them on your desk for convenience so you can easily grab handfuls while you work on a powerpoint or a long proposal throughout the day.
What you need:
A mix of nuts – any kind you want including macadamias, walnuts, pecans, cashews, Brazilian nuts – except for peanuts
1 cup sugar
¾ teaspoon cayenne or chili powder
1 teaspoon ginger
¾ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 Egg whites with a tablespoon of water or melted butter (this is just to coat the nuts so the spices stick)
Instructions: Mix all of the spices together. Secondly, in a separate bowl mix together the egg whites and water (or oil) and coat the nuts. Transfer them to the spice bowl and mix all together. Finally, spread them on a sheet pan and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
This is actually my personal favorite. It seems like someone is always trying to justify eating more chocolate by saying it is healthy for you and I’m not gonna be the one to argue otherwise. Plus, studies show that peppermint can help increase your focus and memory. Either way, this holiday snack is delicious and making it always puts me in the holiday spirit.
What you need:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or cut up your favorite chocolate bar into fine pieces
14 ounces white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup crushed candy canes
Instructions: Start out by crushing up the candy canes. Then, melt the semi sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler and mix in the peppermint extract. Line a cookie sheet or ceramic dish with parchment paper. Then, create a nice layer of the semi sweet chocolate and put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes for it to set. Next, melt the white chocolate and layer it on top evenly. Before this cools, sprinkle on the crushed candy canes and pop it back in the fridge to set again. Finally, take it out after about 30 minutes and break it into pieces. Voila!
All of us here at Hardly hope you have an amazing start to your holiday season and that these holiday snacks bring some joy to your workday.