At Christmas it is important to have special foods to celebrate the holidays, but nutritarians come up against a wall of sugar and unhealthy fats when it comes to holiday treats. If you are on a weight-loss plan, it would be a good idea to have something you can enjoy that is still within your diet restrictions.
Roasted almonds are a healthy recipe that is fun for kids to make and one that we can all enjoy. Buy 2 pounds of raw almonds (costs about $10 where I live) and throw them in boiling water for five minutes or until the skin loosens from the nut. The skin on nuts inhibits digestion so it’s an added benefit to remove it. Drain and set in a bowl with a small amount of warm water so the skins won’t dry. Take a nut in hand and “pop” off the skin. Watch that the nut doesn’t go flying across the room. (My beagle sits right by my side when I do this, ready to catch an escaped nut.) Prepare a separate bowl of blanched nuts for each child who wants to participate. After all the nuts are skinned, dry them out in a dehydrator or in an oven at the lowest setting. Check them every few hours. It can take all day to dry out nuts. If you prefer, let the skinned nuts dry out on the counter. When the nuts are dry, coat them with a healthy oil like almond or olive oil, and roast them in a medium oven (350). I have a convection roaster and it only takes about 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven when they turn slightly golden. Let them cool. Spice them with whatever you like, hot or sweet, or with just a little salt. I like to sprinkle them with organic kelp granules which are naturally salty and provide a lot of iodine.
Just like Christmas’ sweet treats, the holiday itself can become overly sentimental, sweet, and rushed with meaningless activities so that afterwards we feel let down and depressed. A simple way to counteract all of the distractions at Christmas is to add one more, but make it meaningful and ritualistic. We can pray each night at sundown, or make small, daily donations to a different charity, inviting God to lead us in our choices. We can keep a purse of “joy” filled with small bills ready to handout whenever we are asked (Salvation Army is always around town). We can choose to meditate for twenty minutes every day, perhaps by listening to softly sung Christmas carols. Whatever you do, don’t let the beauty of the holiday slip away. Think of the lights on the trees and in the stores as small reminders of the light of Christ in us and all those who love him. Remember that this child we celebrate has conquered sin and will come again to vanquish death. He is our King and this sparkly, tinsel time of Christmas is like costume jewelry compared to the riches of his restored earth. Praise God, everyone is celebrating “Christmas”, even non-believers (Luke 19:40)! Christ is a powerful force in this world (1 Corinthians 4:20).