It’s that time of year where high-calorie desserts and dishes surround us and can make it hard to keep our waistlines trim. Too much sugar and fat can reverse all the progress you have been working so hard for! Instead of eating too many sugary, high-fat foods, it is important to load up on treats that taste amazing but won’t jeopardize your hard work.
The best thing you can do around the holidays is get creative with your cooking and find ways to have the things you are craving without all the unnecessary sugar and fat. With simple swaps, you can turn a high-calorie treat into a delicious and healthy creation! Don’t let all the temptations around you set you back— rather, use them to inspire you to come up with your own healthier variations.
To help curb cravings this holiday season, check out my high-protein, gluten-free holiday Cranberry Black Bean Brownie Bars as a healthy and delicious way to indulge a bit without really indulging! These healthy yet yummy brownie bars will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but they are actually good for you! The fat comes from healthy coconut oil and the only sugars are coming from the dried cranberries.
I love to use ingredients that put me in the holiday mood, such as such as cranberries. They are not a normal everyday fruit I would use. But around the holidays, I start to crave them. Normally you think of all the high-sugar jellies or muffins— however, you can incorporate them into your cooking and baking in a healthier way! Cranberries are linked with a ton of health benefits, including improved urinary tract health and decreased inflammation, and they are also full of antioxidants. We absolutely shouldn’t avoid these little red berries, but rather find ways to add them into our diets in a healthy and creative way.
The key is not avoiding things you are craving, but rather coming up with fun and healthy ways to still have what it is you are craving! I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. I would love to hear about your healthy holiday creations!
Gina Aliotti’s Holiday Cranberry Black Bean Brownie Bars
2 scoops chocolate protein (I used Devotion Brownie Batter Protein)
1 (15.5 ounce, 3.5 cups) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup almond meal
3 egg whites
1 whole egg
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp peppermint extract
3 Devotion Razzmatazz Flex Flavors (can be substituted for 4-8 packets regular stevia)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking dish or best to use mini bar baking pan that holds six bars. Spray dish with non-stick spray.
2. Use a food processor, blender or hand mixer to combine all ingredients (except one Razzmatazz Flex Flavor, if you are using) and mix well. Fold cranberries into the brownie batter mix. Pour into baking dish and sprinkle Razzmatazz Flex Flavor over top. If you are using regular baking stevia, sprinkle stevia over top to add a touch of sweetness to bars.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until when you puncture with a toothpick, it comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy!