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With the holidays around the corner, the countdown to yummy foods begins. From the Thanksgiving feast to advent calendars to stockings full of sweet eats, we are bombarded by food deliciousness and there’s not much we can do about it! Given my foray into healthier living earlier this year, I thought it might be helpful to collect some great tips and ideas for keeping the holidays lighter this year without taking out all the fun and flavor! Whether you’re filling your table with sweet eats or planning out the beverage table (can you say Dr. Pepper TEN?), these ideas will help your sanity and keep you in that Christmas spirit! #drinkTEN #CollectiveBias
1. Literally add lights
HA! So before you roll your eyes at my unique use of the word “light,” hear me out. Brighten up your home and the great outdoors with lights you love. The cheerier the house feels, the more you’ll have a brightened day. Good moods and positive attitudes can make a world of difference when it comes to emotional eating.
2. Live it up with Canada Dry TEN and the first SWEET eat!
We LOVE the smell of baked goods and even better the way they taste! But how can you possibly indulge in all of your favorite treats and not feel like you’re going overboard when it comes to mindful eating choices? Enter Ginger Ale TEN and these delicious Sweet Funfetti Blast Cupcakes!
The ingredients are simple. Like crazy simple. Like you don’t even need a real recipe simple. You’ll need one boxed cake mix (Funfetti of course) and 12 oz. of your favorite TEN soda (I chose Canada Dry TEN for this recipe because it enhanced the flavor, but didn’t mask the color). Make a quick run to your local Kroger affiliate, Food 4 Less and buy all the things you’ll need. Two desserts and drinks to contribute to the party for less than $10! Mix together well. That’s it! Do NOT add anything that the box says which means you’re eliminating the caloric content of these sweet treats. Not to mention the fact that it’s ridiculously easy to do! Bake at 350 degrees in your favorite cupcake liners then cool.
The next step is even easier! Snag some light whipped topping from the frozen section and mix with crushed leftover sweet ‘n sour candies (Nerds, Smarties will do). Mix well and top each cupcake with a scoop of this unique approach to icing or frosting. You’ll have all the oomph of flavor without the sucker punch to the stomach with a heavy amount of calories. Your guests will rave over this party-packed cupcakes!
3. Countdown the days to Christmas with a plank challenge
I’m sure you’ve seen the plank craze on Pinterest, but why not consider taking one up yourself with each of the days leading up to Christmas? Each time, have your plank become progressively longer so as to encourage core body strength and general health and wellness.
4. Eats Nuts and Make Use out of those Decorations
Nuts can provide a variety of health benefits to you and your family. Consider purchasing some by the pound so that you and your little ones can practice “cracking” up over your new little toys. You most likely already have a nutcracker you can use and this would be the perfect opportunity to decorate and create a snack!
5. Fill your Advent calendar with sweet notes instead of candy
A few years ago, my husband received this train advent calendar as a gift. We usually count down the days by putting candy inside, but you can easily change that out. Consider writing kind notes as a family or even small slips of paper explaining random acts of kindness you can complete throughout the season as a family. ‘Tis better to give than receive which basically means step away from the chocolate.
6. Consider letting the little cooks be your taste testers
Calories consumed during the sampling phase of cooking can really add up! Consider enlisting the help of your kids and have them try out your new recipes. You just might be surprised at their honesty and they will love the special treat! Plus, you get your critical review from an honest source.
7. Drink Soda (Floats Cupcakes)
In addition to the recipe above, you can make a versatile Dr. Pepper TEN Soda Float Cupcakes recipe that will have your craving a simpler time at a local soda shoppe. This recipe is just as simple as the Funfetti cupcakes. Snag a bottle of your favorite soda – the entire TEN line of sodas offers the deliciousness with less of the guilt! – and mix together with a box of cake mix. You only need one and a half cups of the soda, so feel free to use the remainder to stock your beverage bar and consider creating a punch with your leftover ingredients. A tablespoon of powdered sugar and cocoa help provide that sweet chocolate flavor without all the hassle.
You just might find a cupcake monster in your kitchen when you whip these up.
As you can see these were a delicious surprise for the patiently waiting preschooler and I think he would have eaten quick a few more if I would have let him! Don’t forget, this recipe requires basically two ingredients that you probably already have some of at home!
8. Use the leftover soda/pop/drinks to create an out of this world punch.
Spice it up with fruit, unique dips and ice. Throw in some of everyone’s favorite service and you also have a built-in crew left!
9. Sing a Christmas Carol!
Sing at the top of your lungs to get into the holiday spirit. You might even consider going door to door with your beautiful voice. You might consider making an A & W TEN gift package complete with fun mugs, straws or an ice cream scoop. Sing, sing, sing your heart out! The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!
10. Consider smiling!
A smile can go a long way. You never know who’s day might be brightened by you showing your pearly whites! The more Christmas cheer you spread, the more you receive and the more complements to your self-esteem will help.
What are your tips and tricks for keeping the holidays lighter in your home?