You better watch out, batten down the colorfully-decorated hatches, and stay strong during that long-awaited dinner party.
The holiday season is here.
Oh, the holidays – it’s one of the best times of the year no matter where you are in the world! We finally get to catch up with old friends and family, decorate our homes with delightful and bright decorations, and partake in all the jolly, exciting, and wonderful celebrations.
It also doesn’t hurt that we get to treat ourselves and our loved ones to a few gifts – because let’s be honest, anyone would enjoy unwrapping a gift and gushing over a heartfelt or funny card.
However, because there is an infinite number of dinner parties, get-togethers, and feasts which are staples of the holiday season – the concept of a maintaining a diet or staying healthy probably gets thrown out the window.
It’s completely understandable though considering you’re constantly faced with tables displaying an array of desserts left and right. Despite the fact, you can actually survive the holidays without abandoning your fitness goals and still enjoy yourself at the same time!
Most, if not all, holiday treats are wonderful, but the majority of the time they’re unfortunately made with heaping amounts of sugar – which isn’t always the best thing for our health. A sugar addiction is the last thing you want ringing with you into the new year.
So, here’s a plan to prevent that possibility from happening: bake healthy holiday cookie recipes instead. Gluten, eggs, and dairy should never be reasons to earn a lump of coal in your stocking.
When in doubt, whip out these five healthy holiday cookie recipes that are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling guilty! Not only will you enjoy them, you can impress and steal the hearts of every party guest with your wholesome dessert too.
5 Healthy Holiday Cookie Recipes:
1. The Classic Cowboy Cookie
Ah, the chocolate chip cookie, a never fail crowd-favorite. It entraps us with its inviting and chocolatey goodness making it impossible to simply munch on one or two.
But there’s a good reason why our mothers always told us to keep our hands out of the cookie jar: to prevent us from diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Mothers really do know best!
An ingredient in this healthy holiday cookie recipe that may surprise you is applesauce. Instead of binding the dry ingredients with eggs, applesauce acts as a perfect substitute along with shredded coconut and mashed bananas to still give you that soft and gooey texture everyone loves.
It’s guaranteed that this twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie will earn the approval of any parent or child. Plus, it’s vegan and gluten-free!
- 1½ cups oats
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large banana, mashed
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- ⅓ cup shredded coconut
- ⅓ cup semi-sweet or dairy-free chocolate chips
- melted chocolate for drizzling, optional
Get the recipe here
Tip: Opt for fabulous and rich dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate is known to be full of antioxidants and nutrients, and a study once concluded that they surpassed the antioxidant intake of acai and blueberries. Talk about a real competitor against acai bowls. A recommended daily intake amount of dark chocolate is roughly 30-60 grams a day. It’s great to know chocolate isn’t as bad as you think!
2. Vegan Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Hooray for another easy, vegan, and gluten-free healthy holiday cookie recipe that spotlights another decadent treat: caramel! It gets even better, folks – the recipe is paleo.
If you’re in a rush to satisfy a craving but don’t want to sacrifice too many extra calories, these vegan salted caramel thumbprint cookies are exactly what you need and they can be ready on a plate in about thirty minutes.
The caramel in this recipe is not made with the usual baking trio of sugar, heavy cream, and water. Instead, it’s cultivated from almond butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup – which is an incredible and healthier dupe of the real thing!
Therefore, don’t feel too guilty for wanting to indulge in more than three of these bite-sized treats. Who can blame you? They’re utterly adorable too. Without further ado, let’s avoid the naughtiness of salted caramel with these easy-to-make cookies.
- 1¼ cups blanched almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
For the caramel
- 3 tablespoons creamy almond butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Pinch of salt to taste
For the drizzle
- 2 oz. dark chocolate chopped or chips
- Flaky sea salt
Get the recipe here
Tip: always opt for sea salt over table salt since the latter is more processed and contains additional iodine evidence. Sea salt, on the other hand, contains an abundance of minerals that benefit the body in multiple ways, such as providing electrolytes, preventing cardiovascular disease, and maintaining blood sugar levels. However, sea salt is still high in sodium like its table salt counterpart, so eat it in moderation like the rest of your healthy holiday cookies!
3. Vegan Ginger Snap Cookies
The holidays are not complete without a good ole’ fashioned ginger snap cookie. It’s sweet and spicy, historically-loved (they’re a staple in England and Germany), and never fails to give the taste buds an extra kick!
But contrary to the title, the cookies in this recipe don’t have any “sinp” in them at all. They’re actually moist and soft cookies – much like the chocolate chip cowboy cookie mentioned earlier. But you can expect an authentic gingersnap cookie to “snap” if choose to indulge in it!
With this gingersnap cookie recipe, you avoid refined sugar and butter. But we promise you can still enjoy a sugary taste from the molasses – which contributes a generous dose of minerals and vitamins, such as calcium and B6.
All you need now to complete these classy and healthy holiday cookies is a cup of warm almond milk tea, a cozy sweater, and cuddling up next to someone special in front of a fireplace.
- 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water
- ¼ cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar), plus about ¼ cup for rolling
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, not melted
- 2 cups almond flour or meal*
- 1 tspvanilla extract
- 1 tbsp molasses (I used blackstrap)
- 2 tsp ground ginger
Get the recipe here
Tip: don’t be afraid to add ginger to your daily diet because it’s jam-packed with incredible benefits. You can say goodbye to digestive problems and nausea, as well as treat any inflammatory condition – just to name a few positive effects. Aside from delicious holiday cookies, ginger also can be added to your morning smoothies, cold-pressed juices, and soups. The versatility is strong with ginger!
4. Peppermint “Oreos” Cookies
Chocolate and mint is a match made in heaven, don’t you think? Each year, this combination sweeps the dessert aisle of grocery stores and is found in the front display of every bakery on the block. Something you may remember as a child is sandwiching a delicious peppermint cream in-between two chocolate cookies.
This is exactly what this recipe is doing here: but your parents won’t scold you for eating too many or having fun getting messy…okay, maybe a little it!
We all love a chocolate cookie’s creamy center filling – that’s an undeniable fact. But, in this healthy holiday cookie recipe, you can swap it out in exchange for a healthier alternative in the form of a peppermint beet filling.
Don’t let the idea of putting beets in this recipe scare you – we promise that you barely taste them. You only need to use a tablespoon of beets to get the perfect red filling.
What you’ll really remember from this Peppermint “Oreo” is the satisfying wave of chewy chocolate melting in your mouth and the refreshing taste of peppermint tickling the back of your tongue that follows immediately after it.
For the cookies
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup dates, soaked for at least 15 minutes (reserve soaking water)
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 T maple syrup
- 2 T date water
For the filling
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 T coconut oil, melted
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1/4 tsp stevia extract
- 1/4-1/2 tsp peppermint extract (depending on how minty you like it)
- 1 beet (only 1 T required for recipe)
Get the recipe here.
Tip: if you want to add color to a dessert, substitute artificial food-coloring with vegetables or fruits since they color food beautifully with their natural dyes. Aesthetics never have to be sacrificed for health (social media pictures of delicious cookies are just as important too). In fact, sometimes a natural coloring has more impact than a fake one – which is wonderfully evident with these peppermint “Oreos”. You could even fool kids into thinking this was the real thing!
5. Cranberry Pistachio Cookies
Last but not least on the list of healthy holiday cookie recipes are these scrumptious but elegant gluten-free cranberry pistachio cookies.
You can’t help but a feel the spirit of festivities sharing these darling cookies with your loved ones. Since cranberries and pistachios have been in season since the beginning of autumn, they last well through the holiday season and winter – which makes it compulsory to use them!
The cranberries provide a rich pop of red, while the pistachios induce a satisfying crunch with every bite, which is quite the opulent combination.
Royalty or not, these cranberry pistachio cookies will always be a lovely addition to any celebration, and they promise to be just as delicious as anything sugary.
- 2 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup unsweetened original almond milk
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped shelled pistachios
Get the recipe here.
Tip: fruits and nuts are a fantastic combination to get in your daily recommended intake of fats and carbohydrates. Instead of reaching for impulse snacks that may be lying around in your home’s kitchen or the office’s work pantry, munch on this healthy duo to keep your energy up and ongoing all through a long shift or project, just in time for the party in the evening.
While the holidays are a time of indulgence, that doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon your fitness goals or fall victim to all the dinner table temptations. Over time and with some discipline, you will walk right past them all without a batting a lash.
There’s always a way to stay healthy during this jolly time of year, and baking a healthy alternative to your favorite treats is one of them! Your guests and friends at the next party are guaranteed to love them just as much as you – and what’s even better is that anyone can enjoy a healthy dessert!
Your friends and family won’t even know what hit em’ with these healthy holiday cookie recipes underneath your belt for the holidays to come. But warn your loved ones to not eat too many cookies at once! You all will definitely want to save some for later.
Last but not least, remember: when you can, save the best indulgences for your holiday favorites. Your mom’s famous chocolate cake or that coworker’s scrumptious and magical lemon meringue pie only comes once a year.
Really, do indulge in a decadent treat or two! You don’t need to completely banish sweets from your diet. As blasphemous as it sounds, it’s true.
Sometimes, even just a bite of your favorite treat is enough to curb an intense craving, and preventing yourself from sugar can actually worsen a craving towards it as well.
In conclusion, minding your moderation or being healthy isn’t just a temporary one-time deal or diet, it’s a lifestyle – but a lifestyle and commitment worth having. There’s nothing wrong with embracing that – especially, during the merriest time of the year! Happy Holidays!