Homemade Better-for-you Holiday Sweets

I know this tme of year gets even busier for busy professional working moms (just like me).  I was so busy that in last week’s post about Smart Strategies for Holiday Eating, I completely forgot to point out that you can also MAKE your own foods to BRING to the events.  When you’ve got better-for-you recipes like the ones I’m about to share, you can be confident in your food choices because you know exactly what is in them and just how delicious they are!  It’s so disappointing to “waste” calories on a sub-par goodie, isn’t it?  I’ve been known to (discreetly) spit out crappy chocolates and dry cookies.  If I’m eating it, it had better be DELICIOUS!

So, I assure you that all of the recipes that follow fit the bill for both better-for-you than their traditional counterparts AND delicious – AS delicious-tasting as the originals, if not MORE SO!  Some of the recipes are vegan, some are keto- and/or paleo-friendly and ALL of the recipes lack refined/processed sugar. I actually filmed full-length LIVE demos for FIVE of the recipes on  Facebook and I shared those same five recipes as my weekly Instagram video series.

Forgot about a class party?  Need to bring a dish to a potluck (as I suggested above)?  Just want to hide in the basement with some snacks until it’s all over?  I’ve got you covered!  For all of my recipes and MORE of my top picks from my favourite food bloggers, read on!

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High Protein Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

More than a mouthful…let’s just read that title again: High Protein Molten Chocolate Lava Cake.  It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?  Especially when you consider that it contains NO gluten, NO grains and NO refined sugar. But I’m here to tell you that it’s real and it’s more than good.  Oh yes, this recipe is downright divine.  It’s got a perfectly soft and moist cake around the edges, and a soft, luscious, melt-y chocolate center.  Just like any perfectly respectable lava cake should.  I hope the photos speak for themselves.  But don’t just take my word for it – make it for yourself!

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(High-Protein) Healthy Banana Cream Pie (Gluten-free, Low-fat, No added sugar)

Banana Cream Pie PlatedThere is nothing quite like the creamy, cool, sweet, custard-y taste and texture of a banana cream pie to transport you to summertime picnics of yesteryear and call to mind long summer nights spent over simple suppers (likely a grill was involved) with friends.  And there most certainly is a time for those self-same recipes, packed as they are with egg yolks and refined sugar (see how I bemoan the Banana Cream Pie in my Banana-Coconut Cream Pie Bowl recipe).  But NOW is the time for a HIGH-PROTEIN Banana Cream Pie (but of course!).  And it’s also gluten-free, low-fat and has no added sugar.  Let’s get baking!

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(High-Protein) Healthy Bread Pudding (Low-fat)

Bread PuddingBread pudding: sweet, sticky, syrupy goodness.  Every bite is the perfect balance of creamy sauce, chewy bread and just a hint of crispy, crunchy bits of baked crust.  It’s every carbohydrate-lover’s dream dessert, and with bread in the title you could even be forgiven for thinking that it could be “healthy” (minus all of the sugar, of course).  Well, it’s time to combine dreams with the reality that I have a high-protein, low-fat, lower-carbohydrate recipe to share with you for my very own Bread Pudding and it’s free of added fats and sugars!  Weekend baking project, anyone?  This would make a perfect dessert or even a great addition to a weekend breakfast or brunch!

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(High-Protein) Healthy Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake (Gluten-free, Low-fat, No added sugar)

Healthy Raspberry Swirl CheesecakeAh, cheesecake. I’ve already admitted that I consider it to be the ultimate indulgence. If I’ve committed to having dessert, a sinfully rich, not-too-sweet New York Cheesecake with raspberry topping is just something I can’t pass up. The magenta-hued berries offer the perfect pairing for this delightful dish. Their tart flavour beautifully balances the mellow creaminess of the cheesecake and their vibrant colour offers a visually arresting contrast against the warm white base. Divine decadence! And I still enjoy (and advocate for) having a full-fat, authentic slice of cheesecake heaven from time to time (ALL things in moderation). But what if I told you that I had a healthy cheesecake recipe? One that was gluten-free, low in fat, high in protein, free of added sugar but still full of rich, creamy cheesecake texture and flavour? You might jump for joy; you might weep with happiness. You might even double over in laughing disbelief. But, if you love cheesecake as much as I do, once you picked yourself up, any chance of a healthy version would have you:

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(High-Protein) Power Pumpkin Pie (Gluten-free, Refined sugar-free)

Power Pumpkin Pie (High-Protein)Pumpkin. Protein. Hmmm…where have we heard THAT pairing before? I just can’t help myself. Pumpkin pie is in my top threefive favourite pies of all time (along with Apple, Blueberry, Strawberry-Rhubarb and Pecan Pie).  To me, pumpkin pie is a real standout because its flavour and texture are so rich and creamy without actually needing to be rich in fat and calories.  The beautiful burnt orange colour of ripe pumpkin is so alluring and any time something with cinnamon is baking in the oven, everyone is drawn to the kitchen.  This easy, healthy, high-protein recipe is a surefire way for even the most hardcore gym buffs to have their cakepie and eat it, too.

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