The holiday season

comes with so many sensual pleasures, like the sights of colorful holiday lights, the sounds of happy holiday music, the touch of soft fleece and faux fur in the colder weather, and the smells of holiday food. Oh, the smells—the ones that make you want to eat all of that tempting food!

A couple of weeks ago

on our Facebook group for preorder members, we talked about one of the more popular coffee drinks of the season, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. People around the world love this drink not only for the taste but the warmth in your hand, the foamy mouthfeel, and holiday pumpkin-pie smell.

Starbucks coffee

But 12-ounces of this sweet treat made with 2% milk and whipped cream packs 300 calories, 63 from saturated fat, and 22g (5 tsp) of added sugar! Make it sixteen ounces and you’ll get 380 calories (about what you get in a small meal), with 72 calories of saturated fat and 28g (7tsp) of added sugar. This is just one example of the sugar, fat, and calories we can consume multiple times daily during the holiday season.

Comforting pleasures of the holidays,

especially the foods we eat, can lift our spirits and help us brave the cold months ahead. I’ll never tell you not to have a treat now and then. (And you can order your pumpkin spice latte with half the syrup to cut down on that blood sugar blast.) But the comfort food we eat and drink on a regular basis needs to be healthier if we want to keep our high-powered, energetic pace without crashing and burning.

It can be satisfying

and even more enjoyable to recreate your favorite winter holiday foods in a healthier way at home. For instance, did you know you can get pumpkin spices (premixed) to add to foods like oatmeal or on top of your homemade latte?

One of my favorite healthy holiday recreations

is my baked, crustless apple pie. It’s easy. It’s delicious. And since a medium to large apple only has about a hundred calories, it’s a low-calorie, high-nutrient value desert. As a bonus, it makes your home smell like the holidays. Best of all, it doesn’t weigh you down or make you feel heavy and tired after eating it. And there’s no sugar-crash afterward.

There are so many ways

to recreate the flavor and sensual delights of the season. Do you have any healthy renditions of your own to share? As always, I’m happy to see your replies in the comments section.