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7 Should-Attempt Lowered-Guilt Recipes – Oxygen Journal

The holiday season is creeping up fast, and before you know it we’ve switched from fruity smoothies to pumpkin spices to green and red treats galore. But don’t settle for the inevitable weight gain on vacation – use these recipes instead, to largely stick with your healthy eating program (it’s the holidays, after all!) And indulge in some guilty vacation joy.

So go on – have your cake, then some cake!

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Although some recipes contain less healthy ingredients (such as butter), the amounts are minimal and overshadowed by the benefits of items like nuts, seeds, berries, and omegas. In addition, the grams of sugar per serving are in the single digits, the carbohydrates are less than 16 grams, and every recipe has 270 calories or less per serving. So go on – have your cake, then some cake!

Pistachio pomegranate dark chocolate rind

Power: 8 servings


  • 1/3 cup peeled pistachios
  • ¾ cup of dates
  • ¾ cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds


  1. Place the dates in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the dates and place in a food processor or blender. Add coconut oil, salt, vanilla extract and cocoa powder and stir until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the date mix with nuts and pomegranate seeds.
  4. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for about 4 hours. After setting, cut into bite-sized pieces. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutritional information (per serving = ¼ cup): calories 270, fat 24 g, protein 2 g, sodium 74 mg, carbohydrates 16 g, fiber 3 g, sugar 9 g

Mixed berry sorbet

Mixed berry sorbet

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Mixed berry sorbet

Power: 4 servings


  • 1 (5.3 oz) container of whole milk yogurt
  • 2 cups of frozen mixed berries
  • 4 tbsp milk of your choice (more if required)
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Put the yogurt, berries and vanilla in a blender jar.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time, pulsing each time until well blended. Continue until the mixture is thick and creamy. Serve immediately or store in the freezer for later.

Nutritional information (per serving = 2/3 cup): calories 93, fat 3 g, protein 6 g, sodium 209 mg, carbohydrates 12 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 9 g

Maple Walnut Chocolate Truffle

Power: 15 chocolates *


  • ¼ cup of cocoa butter
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp raw walnut pieces


  1. Melt the cocoa butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in maple syrup and vanilla extract. Then mix in cocoa powder.
  3. Pour the mixture into silicone molds or cups. Put a few pieces of walnut in the middle of each chocolate. Let cool and place in the freezer or refrigerator to set.

Nutritional information (per serving = 1 chocolate): calories 46, fat 4 g, protein 0 g, sodium 1 mg, carbohydrates 3 g, fiber 0 g, sugar 1 g

* The number of candies can vary depending on the shape.

Tough, grain-free gingerbread muesli

Power: 20 servings


  • ½ cup of raw almonds
  • ½ cup of raw pecans
  • ½ cup of raw hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas / pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • ¼ cup of ground flaxseed flour
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 275 F.
  2. In a food processor or blender, cut the almonds, pecans, coconuts, and hazelnuts into small pieces. Don’t overmix.
  3. Heat coconut oil, maple syrup, molasses, spices, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. Place the processed nuts in a large bowl and pour the warm coconut oil mixture over them. Add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed flour and stir to combine.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Take out of the oven and let cool and harden.

Nutritional information (per serving = 2 tablespoons): calories 159, fat 14 g, protein 3 g, sodium 33 mg, carbohydrates 9 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 5 g

Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

Power: 24 cookies


  • 2 cups whole grain all-purpose flour *
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of packaged brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 whole egg, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup of dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, and butter and mix with a stand or hand mixer on medium setting for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts by hand until everything is well mixed.
  4. Shape the dough into 2 long, flat stems and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned and firm. Take out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Cut the stems into ¼-inch slices to make cookies. Place the cookies on 2 baking sheets and return to the oven. Bake an additional 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Let cool in an airtight container before storing.

Nutritional information (per serving = 1 biscuit): calories 85, fat 3 g, protein 2 g, sodium

103 mg, carbohydrates 14 g, fiber 1 g, sugar 7 g

Apple and walnut crisp

Apple and walnut crisp

Apple and walnut crisp

Power: 12 servings


  • 4 cups Granny Smith apples, pitted, peeled, and diced
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup of oatmeal
  • ¼ cup all-purpose whole wheat flour *
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp butter diced into small strokes
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. For the crispy topping, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, sugar, melted butter, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Put aside.
  3. Put apples in cornstarch and distribute evenly in the baking dish. Top with walnuts and a crispy topping. Spread the butter cakes evenly on the top.
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the apples are forked and garnished
  5. is slightly browned. Let cool before serving.

Nutritional information (per serving = 1/3 cup): calories 167, fat 12 g, protein 3 g, sodium 87 mg, carbohydrates 15 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 7 g

Chocolate covered fudge brownies

Power: 15 servings


  • ½ cup mashed sweet potato
  • ½ cup of chocolate protein powder of your choice
  • ½ cup of smooth nut butter of your choice
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder


  • ¼ cup cocoa butter nibs or chips
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or brush with non-stick cooking spray. Put aside.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the brownie ingredients until smooth. Should form a thick batter.
  3. Pour the batter into a loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Note: the brownies don’t rise much. Let cool completely in the pan.
  4. Once the brownies have cooled, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  5. Immediately pour melted chocolate over brownies. Place in the refrigerator to set and cut into 9 squares. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Nutritional information (per serving = 1 brownie): calories 128, fat 8 g, protein 8 g, sodium 31 mg, carbohydrates 6 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 2 g

Smart swaps

Turn your favorite vacation recipe upside down by trading in some questionably healthy ingredients for more goal-friendly ones.

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of flaxseed flour with 3 tablespoons of water instead of a whole egg. This makes a recipe vegan-friendly, and adds a boost in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Works well in muffins, cakes, and breads.
  2. Swap regular butter and oil for your favorite nut butters (in the same amount) to increase healthy fats and lower trans and saturated fats. Try this in cookies, cakes, muffins, and sweet breads.
  3. Use plain, fat-free Greek yogurt in place of sour cream to reduce calories and fat while increasing protein. Think: coffee cakes and cupcakes.
  4. Try almond flour and coconut flour instead of white or wheat flour to go gluten-free, increase fiber, and cut down on carbohydrates. Ideal for bread, cookies, pastries and crusts.
  5. Mix pitted dates or ripe bananas into batter to add sweetness and fiber without the added sugar. Try this in cakes, cookies, breads, and brownies.

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