As you practice mindful eating this holiday season, be mindful of the ingredients in your Christmas treats! Most traditional festive cookies and desserts are full of sugar, and sugar has been shown to suppress your immune system. That’s the last thing you need amidst the stress of the Christmas season (to say nothing about the fact that we’re right in the middle of the 2023 cold and flu season, too!). Thankfully, you can have your proverbial Christmas cake and eat it, too. These keto-friendly Christmas treats have all the festive, traditional flavors you crave — without the guilt of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.
1. Keto-Friendly Avocado Christmas Brownies
Avocado can work as a great substitute for butter or oil in brownies, adding creaminess and healthy fats while keeping the carb count lower. Not only that, but avocados also offer some surprising health benefits. According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, these fruits (yes, avocado is technically a fruit) are one of the best sources of monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid. These healthy fats are heart-friendly and can help reduce bad cholesterol levels.
Avocados are also a nutrient-dense food, containing a wide array of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C, and several B-vitamins. They also provide small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. Avocado even has anti-inflammatory effects, which can contribute to overall health and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases associated with inflammation.
These Christmas brownies are one of the healthiest Christmas treats you can try this season, indulging your cravings while delivering a powerhouse of nutritional value.
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered erythritol or sweetener of choice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional: Sugar-free chocolate chips or nuts for topping
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine the mashed avocado, unsweetened applesauce, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix well until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cocoa powder, powdered sweetener, baking powder, and salt.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a smooth batter forms.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly.
If desired, sprinkle sugar-free chocolate chips or nuts on top of the batter.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs.
Once baked, remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares. These brownies will have a fudgy texture, thanks to the avocado. Enjoy your low-carb avocado brownies — the perfect Christmas treats for your holiday party and your immune system!
2. Low-Carb Candy Cane Milkshake
These Christmas treats hearken to the days of the old-fashioned milkshake counter at the corner store. Bits of candy cane lend it a festive flavor, and it’s shockingly low-carb and also dairy free thanks to the use of full-fat coconut milk and almond milk.
Coconut milk contains vitamins C, E, B vitamins, and minerals like iron, selenium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and copper, which are essential for various bodily functions. Despite being high in saturated fats, the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut milk may raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels and have a neutral or positive effect on overall cholesterol profiles in some studies. Even better, the lauric acid, found in abundance in coconut milk, has antimicrobial properties that may support the immune system by fighting off harmful pathogens.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any low-carb milk substitute)
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (or sugar-free vanilla ice cream)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1-2 tablespoons powdered erythritol or sweetener of choice, to taste
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 drops red food coloring (optional)
Crushed sugar-free candy canes or peppermint candies for garnish (optional)
Whipped cream (sugar-free) for topping (optional)
Begin by chilling your glasses in the freezer.
In a blender, combine the unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk (or ice cream), peppermint extract, sweetener, vanilla extract, and red food coloring (if using).
Blend the ingredients until smooth and well combined.
Taste and adjust sweetness or peppermint flavor according to your preference.
If desired, crush some sugar-free candy canes or peppermint candies for garnish.
Pour the milkshake into the chilled glasses. Top with whipped cream and garnish with crushed sugar-free candy canes or peppermint candies. Serve immediately with a straw or spoon. Enjoy!
3. Festive Almond Flour Christmas Cookies
Swap out traditional refined flour for almond flour, and you have the foundation for your favorite Christmas cookies with added nutritional benefits.
Almond flour, which is naturally gluten-free and low in carbs, is packed with nutrients. It’s a good source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese.
Almond flour has a lower glycemic index compared to wheat flour, meaning it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels as much. This can be beneficial for managing blood sugar and insulin levels, making it a suitable option for people with diabetes or those aiming to stabilize their blood sugar.
When using almond flour, keep in mind that it doesn’t have the same properties as wheat flour in terms of structure and rising in baking. It’s often used in combination with other gluten-free flours or binding agents to achieve desired textures in baked goods. The end result are healthy Christmas treats that you can decorate however you want!
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup powdered erythritol or sweetener of choice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sugar-free sprinkles or decorations (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk together the almond flour, powdered sweetener, salt, and baking powder until well combined.
In another bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the softened butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
Add the egg to the butter mixture and continue beating until fully combined.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a dough forms. It might be slightly crumbly but should hold together when pressed.
Form the dough into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
Once chilled, roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thickness.
Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and carefully transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
If using sugar-free sprinkles or decorations, gently press them onto the cookies.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Feel free to get creative with the cookie shapes and decorations to make these low-carb Christmas cookies festive and fun!