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Holiday Traditions

Updated: Apr 16, 2022

The holidays can be a challenging time to stay on course if you are following a particular eating plan. All the holiday cookies, cakes and other sweets are so integrated into our celebrations that it is hard to have a holiday celebration without them. One of my family traditions came from my Swedish roots. We would always make a Swedish Cardamom Bread, shaped into a braid, and drizzled with a sweet glaze. If there were any leftovers, then French toast was on the menu for the next day (which is why I would always make extra). But now I know that gluten and eggs are actually damaging my body, so no more Swedish Cardamom Bread. However, I can incorporate the flavor of cardamom in other dishes (I also put it in herbal tea) and that helps to remind me of my family memory.

Making changes to engrained traditions is hard, but it can be done! Do you have a dinner party coming up with friends or family? Volunteer to bring a side dish (full of the rainbow of vegetables that are now part of your daily routine) like this recipe for Herb-Roasted Tri-Colored Carrots by


Herb-Roasted Tri-Colored Carrots

prep time 5 MINUTES | cook time 30 MINUTES | total time 35 MINUTES

These roasted rainbow carrots are lightly caramelized around the edges, crisp-tender in the center, and seasoned with rosemary, thyme, and parsley!


· 2 pounds carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces (I used tri-colored carrots, but you can use all orange)

· 2 tablespoons olive oil

· 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

· 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

· 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

· 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

· 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

· 2 teaspoons lemon juice, optional


1. Preheat oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.

2. Add the carrots to the baking sheet, evenly drizzle with olive oil, and evenly sprinkle with thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and toss with your hands to evenly coat.

3. Arrange the carrots in a flat layer with space between the pieces if possible and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until carrots are lightly caramelized around the edges and fork-tender. Baking times will vary based on the size of carrots and personal preference for doneness.

4. Stir and flip halfway through baking to ensure all sides cook evenly.

5. Evenly sprinkle with parsley, evenly drizzle with optional lemon juice (brightens up the dish) and serve immediately.


·Carrots are best warm and fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

© Averie Sunshine


You could also bring dessert (made with monk fruit instead of sugar so it doesn’t make your blood sugar go crazy). Holiday baking? Again, find recipes that avoid your food sensitivities and use monk fruit instead of sugar.

Here is a recipe from Unbound Wellness for gingerbread cookies.



author: MICHELLE | total time: 32 MINUTES | yield: 6 SERVINGS

These AIP gingerbread cookies are the perfect alternative for the holidays! They’re paleo, AIP, gluten-free, and made without any refined sugar.


· 3/4 cup tapioca starch

· 1/2 cup tigernut flour

· 1 tbsp gelatin

· 1/2 tsp baking soda

· 1 tsp ground ginger

· 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

· 1/3 cup palm shortening

· 3 tbsp maple syrup

· 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses

· 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting & decorations

· 1/4 cup palm shortening

· 1 tablespoon light-colored honey

· 1– 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F & line a baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

3. In a medium bowl, cream together the palm shortening, maple syrup, and molasses. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir in the vanilla extract and combine well until all ingredients are blended and form a dough. Transfer the dough to a clean piece of parchment paper.

4. Working with about 1/2 cup of dough at a time, flatten it to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a gingerbread cookie cutter (or another cookie cutter of your choice to cut the dough and pull away from the excess dough around the cookie cutter with your fingers. Return any excess dough to the bowl. Transfer the formed cookies onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remainder of the dough, evenly spacing the cookies on the baking sheet. You should have 6 cookies.

5. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the cookies are a light golden brown. Carefully transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before decorating.

6. To make the frosting & decorations combine the palm shortening and honey in a bowl and transfer to a piping bag. Pipe eyes and other features onto the gingerbread people. Use pomegranate seeds for buttons.


Start new holiday traditions, like taking a hike through the woods to cut down a Christmas tree (in an approved area of course) instead of purchasing one already cut on a lot. Bonding by getting out in nature and getting exercise together as a family is important for developing memories and good habits later in life.

Start a family game night instead of movie night (which usually involves unhealthy snacks). Pull out those old board games that are gathering dust and introduce the younger generations to the magic that is board games (or card games). One of our family favorites is UpWords. Just watch out for Monopoly!

Get other family members involved in cooking new foods that can become a new traditional flavor at the holidays. Find jobs that even the youngest members can help with in the kitchen. Choose a day that you are not rushed and provide plenty of time for their help. They can wash vegetables, sprinkle herbs or seasoning (just a pinch!) or tear lettuce for salad. They can cut out and decorate cookies. As kids get older, give them more responsibilities. Don't forget to praise them for the effort (even if they make a big mess...just get their help to clean up)!

Our family has also started a tradition of making Christmas ornaments each year to go on our family tree. This year, we tried our hand at beaded snowflakes (they were a bit difficult, but memories were made) and hoop ornaments with plaid fabric. It was a fun activity to do together, and we can remember those times in the future every time we look at our family Christmas tree.

Remember to take time to make memories this holiday season. Who knows? You may start a new family tradition!

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