6 Healthy Protein Recipes to Tame Your Holiday Cravings

There’s nothing wrong with indulging once in a blue moon–but it seems like each year right after  Halloween #treatyoself becomes almost a daily thing. The worse part is that more often than not ,once you start splurging you can’t stop. It can become a slippery slope, especially when those rich, sugary treats are involved because they can lead to insulin spikes and “sugar crashes”.  And if you’re trying badly to keep your waistline in check, all those extra treats (whether it be sweet, savory, solid or liquid)–can add up to a few extra pounds on the scale at the end of the year.  Especially if you’re not doing extra physical activity to work it off, or compensating by eating more of the less calorie-dense foods.

Sure you can always work those extra pounds off come January, but why not avoid it in the first place? Why not indulge with moderation? That is, either enjoy a smaller serving than normal, OR have a healthier version of your treat.

Here are 6 healthier and protein-boosted alternative recipes to seasonal favorites to help you curb your cravings and nourish your body at the same time.

 

1. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This seasonal favorite in liquid form may have close to the same amount of calories in 1 average slice of pumpkin pie–but it contains way more beneficial nutrients and will also help to keep you full for longer than the slice of pie. That’s because compared to the average 5 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat in a slice of pie, the smoothie contains 27 grams of protein and only 3.5 grams of fat! Plus, you’re getting nearly 10,000 more micrograms of the antioxidant beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) in the smoothie. To top it off, it’s plant-based so that means no cholesterol and no saturated fat. Cheers to that.

Pumpkin pie protein smoothie

 

2. Vanilla Gingerbread Protein Bites

What’s not to love here? These no-bake, gingery nuggets are made with an oat base and protein boosted using GN vanilla rice protein.  So much better for your body than regular gingerbread.

Make a batch ahead of time and store them in the fridge for when hanger strikes! Ps. the kids will love these too.

Vanilla Gingerbread Bites

3. Superfood Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Who doesn’t get bombarded with chocolate during the holidays?  Whether it’s in a gift bag or office treat jar, it’s hard to say no.  In those decisive moments, think before acting: does your body really need extra sugar right now? You might be surprised at how many times you can put the chocolate down.  But for moments when you do want to indulge, try something that provides your body with something more than just sugar.  Like this gluten-, nut-, and dairy free bark made mostly with coconut butter, protein powder and unsweetened chocolate–then decorated with an array of superfoods.  Each pieces has 7 grams of protein, almost 5 grams of fiber and only 10 grams of sugar!

vegan chocolate peppermint bark

 

4. Healthy Real Pumpkin Spice Latte

That’s right–no pumpkin flavors or loads of syrupy sweetener here–just real pumpkin and almost 2 egg’s worth of protein.  Feel good about what you are feeding your body with this warm seasonal favorite.

real-pumpkin-spice-latte-vegan

5. Pecan Pie Smoothie

Pecans, like other nuts are great for your health (especially your heart’s health), but not so much when they’re drowning in butter and sugar, like in the case of pie. This smoothie version of the classic dessert is sure to delight both your taste buds and your cells thanks to all the nutrients it provides. Pecans are a rich sources of antioxidant vitamin E, manganese, potassium, calcium, fiber, zinc, B vitamins and more. Plus, you get almost 30 grams of protein to keep you full and keep your blood sugar balanced.

Pecan Pie Protein Shake

6.  Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Yet another healthy way to enjoy fluffy, spiced pumpkin goodness: pancakes. And not just sugar-laden pancakes–protein-packed ones! Made mainly with rice protein, egg whites and (of course) pumpkin puree, these cakes have everything your body needs and nothing it doesn’t. Only 180 calories, 3 grams of sugar and 29 grams of protein. Plus it’s dairy free. Don’t miss out!

Fall-Spiced Pumpkin Protein Pancakes, protein powder, growing naturals

 

By: Scarlett Full, in-house Registered Dietitian

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