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The holidays are a time of indulgence, especially with all the wonderful food options. The festivities always seem to include rich, sugary, buttery sweets and plenty of savory comfort food favorites. It is possible to enjoy our comforts and treats without all the sugar and fat. Moderation is the key. Here are some favorite treat ideas that the whole family can enjoy and can participate in the preparation of.

Sweet Treat Appetizer

Sweet Potato Balls are a common street food in Asian cultures. They are sweet and savory and can be served as an appetizer or a dessert. These are a great way to get your kids to eat their vegetables. They are vegan and gluten-free. This recipe calls for frying, but you could try baking them in the oven until crisp for less fat.


1 lb of cooked & mashed sweet potatoes

1-1/4 cups of fine brown or white rice flour

1/4 cup of raw granulated sugar

1 tsp of baking powder

Grapeseed or Safflower oil for frying


Basic Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients together.

Pinch the dough and make 1” diameter balls while the oil is heating.

Fry the balls for 3 or 4 minutes until they float.

Drain and serve with a sprinkling of salt.


Main Meal Comfort Food Makeover

Macaroni and cheese may be the chart topper for comfort food, especially around the holidays. This version of the popular side dish is healthier and still deliciously cheesy. These Cheesy Quinoa Muffins swap out the pasta for quinoa to ensure there is plenty of good protein. The broccoli adds vitamins and fiber. These are baked in muffin tins and can be eaten by hand.


3/4 cup thoroughly rinsed quinoa

1-1/2 cups water

3/4 – 1 cup lightly cooked broccoli chopped

2 eggs

2 TBS cream cheese

1- 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Salt & Pepper to taste

Basic Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350˚

Cook the quinoa in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes until fluffy

Coat 12 muffin tins with vegetable or coconut oil

Mix all ingredients in a bowl & fill the muffin tins

Bake for approximately 17 minutes until golden & crisp

Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing to serve


Sweet Endings

It wouldn’t be the holidays without dessert, especially something with chocolate. Kids need fresh fruit in their diets. Instead of allowing your kids to reach for the sugar cookies, serve them Chocolate Dipped Fruit that they can help prepare. Clementine fruit is abundantly available around the holidays. What could be easier than peeling a few, melting some high quality dark chocolate, and dipping the fruit in it? Strawberry and banana pieces also work very well.


3 oz. high cacao content, semi-sweet chocolate

4 or 5 clementines peeled and sectioned

Basic Instructions:

Melt the chocolate over simmering water in a double boiler (or microwave)

Place warm chocolate in ramekins

Skewer the Clementine sections with tooth picks

Dip and eat

We all deserve treats around the holidays. It is possible to enjoy healthier versions of treats without feeling deprived. These are a few very simple recipes that the entire family can have fun preparing. Part of the fun is that they all can be eaten with your hands.