It’s hard to imagine the holidays without baked goods. Besides, as we’ve noted before, biologically, we’re hardwired to love sweets. Yet both sugars and the highly refined flours used in your typical baked treats spell trouble for teeth, not to mention the rest of your body. Hyper-processed carbs fuel tooth decay and chronic inflammation alike.
But the key to successfully navigating the season doesn’t have to be just abstaining from all the cakes, cookies, pies, and other sweet treats. What we can do is focus on making wise choices for the indulgences we enjoy at this time of year.
While alternatives like agave, raw honey, and coconut sugar sound healthier, it’s important to remember that they’re still broken down and absorbed by the body the same way as refined table sugar. Sugar is sugar, after all.
Yes, the more natural options can contain trace minerals and other nutrients, but you’d have to eat so much of them to benefit that it would defeat the purpose entirely.
At the same time, some of these are far sweeter than white sugar, so you probably end up using less – a good thing. You can also help slow the absorption of sugars you do include by using ingredients high in soluble fiber. (You’ll find a list of the top 20 high soluble fiber foods, many of which can find a place in baking, here.)
A great option is to explore the possibilities of paleo baking.
Like traditional baking, paleo baking requires flour, fat, and sugar. Many of the recipes rely on coconut flour, which is both high fiber and high protein. These are both satiating and healthy. But coconut flour is hardly the only option.
You can learn about some other common ingredients here.
As for what you can make with such ingredients, the possibilities seem endless. For instance, you can break out your holiday cookie cutters to make these Paleo Sugar Cookies. (As an added bonus, the post with the recipe includes a good discussion of why some paleo ingredients work well with cookies and others don’t.)
Some other holiday cookie recipes you can try out:
- Grain-Free Gingerbread Cookies
- Chocolate-Dipped Grain-Free Shortbread
- Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Cherry Jam
But who says you have to stop with cookies? Why not try these 4-Ingredient Coconut Truffles or Dark Chocolate Truffles? Or Paleo Cinnamon Rolls, which, according to the recipe’s creator, are like “eating wheat”? Or Warm Caramel Apple Pie Bread, which joins together maybe two of the most delightful food aromas during the cold months: fresh baked bread and apple pie.