By Kristin Stephens, MS, NTP

It’s no secret that the holidays are a time to enjoy food. From traditional recipes to the never-ending candy dish at work, there are a multitude of ways you can indulge throughout the holiday season.

Is there a healthy way to indulge in your favorite treats? Maybe, but only you can decide that. Healthy eating isn’t only about consuming nutrient-rich foods. It’s also about creating a healthy mindset and relationship with food.

Ask yourself: Does one indulgence lead to another and another? Or do you truly feel like you can indulge and then move on?

Some people are able to have just one bite to be satisfied, while others feel they lose a sense of control after indulging just once. Determining your personal reaction to an indulgence will help you plan which of your favorite holiday foods are worth indulging in, and which aren’t.

It’s important to be mindful of the reaction a food creates for you. If you can’t stop eating it even if you’re feeling full, there might be an emotional attachment to it. If you continue to eat it and then later beat yourself up for it, that’s showing a broken relationship with food. If you enjoy the food and then move on to other activities, you’re in a good place.

It might not happen overnight, but with some reflection and mindful eating, you can find a healthy way to indulge this holiday season. Here’s a fun, healthy recipe to include in your menu when entertaining your friends and family…Pumpkin Chocolate Bars by Melissa King at

Pumpkin Chocolate Bars (Serves 18)
Spicy pumpkin pecan crust with a layer of chocolate ganache in the middle!




  • 2 1/2 cups raw pecans
  • 10 Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • pinch sea salt


  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2-3 TBS maple syrup


  1. In a food processor, combine the pecans, pumpkin and spices until they are coarsely ground. Add in dates, and blend a little more, adding a tiny bit of water if needed for the mixture to come together.
  2. Line an 8 X 8 glass baking dish with parchment paper.
  3. Press 1/2 the pecan/pumpkin mixture into the pan and place in the freezer.
  4. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the chocolate ganache layer.
  5. Pour the chocolate ganache over the first pecan/pumpkin layer, and put back in freezer for another 5 – 10 minutes.
  6. Press the remaining pecan/pumpkin mixture on top, and return the whole thing to the freezer for another 30-35 minutes.
  7. Once chilled, cut into bars; then serve and enjoy!

If you’d like some guidance on how to navigate the holiday season and improve your relationship with food, please get in touch with us at Pure Nutrition + Wellness at [email protected], or call 844-787-3935 to schedule a consultation.

This is the first in a series of posts about healthy holiday indulgences and mindful eating.

Be Well,

Donna Stephens, BCN, CNHP, LDHS
Kristin Stephens, MS, NTP