Savoring the Season: A Guide to Mindful Holiday Foods

I love the sound of that! Mindful holiday indulgences can be a perfect blend of enjoyment and self-care. What comes to mind when you think of incorporating mindfulness into your holiday treats or activities?

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a banquet of festive delights that can sometimes lead to overindulgence. This year, why not approach your holiday feasting with a mindful twist? Embracing the principles of mindfulness can not only enhance your enjoyment of the season but also foster a deeper connection to the food you consume.

Conscious Choices:
Mindful eating starts with conscious choices. As you peruse the holiday buffet, consider opting for dishes that are not only delicious but also nourishing. Seek out fresh, whole ingredients that contribute to your overall well-being.

Mindful Mingling:
The holidays are not just about the food; they’re also about connection. Practice mindful socializing by engaging in meaningful conversations, truly listening to others, and appreciating the joy of shared moments. This can create a more fulfilling experience than focusing solely on the culinary aspect.

Gracious Endings:
As the holiday meal concludes, take a moment to reflect on the experience. Notice how your body feels and appreciate the nourishment it received. Consider incorporating a gentle post-meal activity, like a leisurely stroll, to aid digestion and promote a sense of well-being.

Here are a couple of simple, healthy options to try out at your holiday gathering, or for a snack to have on hand.
Dark Chocolate-Dipped Clementines
This simple treat not only satisfies your sweet cravings but also provides a dose of vitamin C from the clementines and the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate. It’s a win-win for your taste buds and your health!

Clementines (as many as you’d like)
Dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)
Optional toppings: chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or a sprinkle of sea salt

1. Peel the Clementines: Gently peel the clementines and separate them into individual segments. Make sure to remove any seeds or excess pith.

2. Melt the Dark Chocolate: Break the dark chocolate into small pieces and melt it using a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the microwave, heat in 20-second intervals, stirring in between until fully melted.

3. Dip the Clementines: Dip each clementine segment halfway into the melted dark chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off. You can use a fork or toothpick for this.

4. Optional Toppings: While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle your chosen toppings over the dipped end. This adds a delightful crunch and extra flavor. Get creative with combinations!

5. Set on Parchment Paper: Place the chocolate-dipped clementines on a parchment paper-lined tray or plate. This prevents them from sticking and makes cleanup easier.

6. Chill in the Fridge:Pop the tray into the fridge for about 15-20 minutes or until the chocolate hardens. This step adds a refreshing touch, especially if you enjoy your treats slightly chilled.

7. Serve and Enjoy:Once the chocolate has set, your Dark Chocolate-Dipped Clementines are ready to be enjoyed! They make a delicious and visually appealing addition to any holiday spread.

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
Everyone loves a healthier option at a party for sweets and this is the perfect one! The zucchini adds fiber that helps to level out your blood sugar and the dark chocolate adds a boost of antioxidants. Add chopped pecans for added texture and fiber.

1 stick butter – unsalted
3/4 C dark chocolate chips
½ C cocoa powder
1/2 C sugar or monk fruit sweetener
½ tsp salt
1 C shredded zucchini
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 C flour
2/3 C pecans or walnuts, chopped

1. Heat oven to 400.
2. Prepare 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
3. Melt butter in a saucepan over med/low heat, stir in half of chocolate chips and cocoa and stir until combined, remove from heat.
4. Add sugar, salt, zucchini, and vanilla.
5. At eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.
6. Fold in flour.
7. Fold in remaining chocolate chips and nuts until combined.
8. Spread into pan and bake about 30 minutes.
9. Let cool and cut into 12 squares. Enjoy!

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