Food

Elyse Kopecky Has One Rule About Holiday Treats

And no, it has nothing to do with them being off limits!

I don’t know about you guys, but the snowy weather combined with feeling festive and having no place to go, means I’m baking holiday treats all the time. I especially love baking during the holidays because it’s an interactive activity for the whole family with a sweet reward at the end. I’m basically not motivated to go out and run in the cold unless I have something delicious to come home to afterward. This might be a bowl of soup, a homemade almond milk latte, or freshly baked cookies (actually more like all of the above?!).

So how do you enjoy holiday treats without over-indulging? I have one rule of thumb: Stick to homemade.

Homemade baked goods taste so much better than anything store-bought and can be made with more nutrient-dense ingredients to keep you satisfied longer. When you bake from scratch, you can use healthier fats, like organic butter and virgin coconut oil, instead of the inflammatory hydrogenated oils typically found in packaged treats. These healthy fats are easier for our body to burn for long-lasting energy.

You can also customize your baked treats to suit any dietary needs. If you’re avoiding refined sugar, try more natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, or blackstrap molasses. If you’re sensitive to gluten or dairy, you can easily make substitutions. For a heart-healthy white flour substitution, grind gluten-free rolled oats into oat flour simply by pulsing the oats in a blender. For grain-free baking, lean on mineral-rich almond flour and coconut flour.

I believe restrictive dieting (unless necessary for medical reasons) does more harm than good. If we try to restrain ourselves from enjoying our favorite baked goods, we end up craving them even more. This year make your treats from scratch, so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body and can feel good about indulging. When you stick to homemade sweets, you’ll be a lot less likely to overdue it because it takes time and effort to make it from scratch. You’ll also be more likely to eat mindfully when indulging in a freshly baked cookie because you’ll want to savor your efforts.

Filling up on nutrient-dense whole foods, indulging in healthy fat, pausing mindfully to enjoy a treat, and listening to your body’s hunger cues are forever habits we can all embrace. Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season filled with delicious home-cooked meals.

[Related: Elyse Kopecky’s Grain-Free Chocolate Coconut Walnut Cookies]