What you eat this holiday season should bring you joy, not stress. That’s why we’re excited to share some delicious holiday desserts that you can make right now. We’ve chosen ones that have the taste you’re expecting, while switching out an ingredient here and there to make them a little bit healthier. After all, you’ve been working hard on your health journey all year long and you should celebrate that and eat whatever you’d like. Weight management doesn’t need to be hard or full of restriction so that’s why we want you to have fun making these holiday desserts and enjoy eating them with your loved ones this holiday season.
This Healthy Pecan Pie Bars recipe from The Clean Eating Couple is sure to be a hit. It has all the flavor of a traditional pecan pie, but with cleaned up ingredients making it gluten free, dairy free, grain free, lower in sugar, and paleo. Since pecans are a high calorie food, and they’re the main ingredient, this recipe is similar to a classic pecan pie bar in terms of calories, but this version has almost half the amount of sugar as a classic pecan pie. And while not low carb, they’re lower carb than the typical pecan pie, as well. These bars are also easier to make than a pie since you don’t have to roll out a crust.
For this recipe, you’ll need maple syrup, ghee, eggs, vanilla extract, coconut flour, tapioca flour, salt, coconut sugar, almond milk, and pecans. The Clean Eating Couple recommends that you do not make any substitutions for this particular recipe, and suggests serving these pecan pie bars with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream (or dairy free ice cream, if necessary).
These whole-wheat sugar cookies topped with a sweet, lemony glaze are only 126 calories, but they’re sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. By using egg whites and a minimum of butter, this Health recipe keeps saturated fat and cholesterol low, while the whole-wheat flour adds a fiber and nutrient boost.
All in, this recipe will take just over half an hour to make with 20 minutes dedicated for prep time and 12 minutes for cooking time (or until set and not browned). However, it’s important to note that these cookies must be placed on a wire rack and chilled for 4 hours after they come out of the oven. Once the cookies are cooled completely, your family can help you decorate them by adding icing and sprinkles. This recipe requires flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, baking soda, butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, egg white, pure vanilla extract, pure almond extract, confectioner’s sugar, and lemon juice.
This Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares recipe by Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen is a no-bake dessert that’s easy to make and uses the nutritional power of pumpkin. It’s paleo and vegan friendly with the creaminess coming from raw cashews, which Rachel says, “Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.” To create a slight hint of tartness, Rachel uses a spoonful of lemon juice instead of cheese (which is typically used).
The ingredients you’ll need for the base are 1 cup of raw pecans, ½ cup of raw walnuts, 1 cup of Medjool dates (pitted – make sure they’re soft), 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (melted), ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of fine grain sea salt. Then you’ll put all of these ingredients into a food processor and process them until the ingredients stick together.
For the filling, 2 cups of raw cashews (soaked in water 2-4 hours and then drained and rinsed), ¾ cup of pumpkin puree, ½ cup of pure maple syrup, 1/3 cup of coconut oil (melted), 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon of ground clove, and 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract are required. Add all of these ingredients into your blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
To complete the recipe, pour the filling evenly over the base and smooth it out. Then cover the dish and place it in the freezer to set for 4 to 6 hours. When you take it out, let the dish sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into the squares.
For anyone trying to stay paleo and gluten-free during the holidays, this Grain-Free Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies recipe from The Real Food Dietitians is going to be a game changer. These melt-in-your-mouth Grain-Free Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies have only 7 grams of sugar per cookie and take just 25 minutes to make including prep time and cooking time.
The ingredients for this cookie recipe are 1 ½ cups of almond flour, 1/3 cup of coconut flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, ¼ teaspoon of sea salt, 2 ½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted), ½ cup of maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of molasses, and 1 egg. And don’t forget 3 tablespoons of coconut butter for the topping, which you can melt in a saucepan on medium heat or in the microwave in 20-second increments until it reaches a drizzly consistency. And if you’d like, you can also add sprinkles, which are optional.
For those of you celebrating Christmas, or even anyone who likes fruit and wants to add some festive holiday colors to the dessert table, this Kiwi Fruit and Strawberry Christmas Tree Platter recipe from Desire Empire is an easy to make, healthy holiday dessert option that’s great for kids. The only two ingredients that you need are 2 boxes of small Kiwi Fruit (18 total) and 1 container of strawberries.
Desire Empire recommends peeling and slicing the kiwi fruit into discs, reserving some skin for the tree trunk. After that, arrange the kiwi fruit in the shape of a Christmas Tree on a platter, making sure to leave no gaps in your tree by layering the fruit as needed. Cut the ‘pointy end’ of the strawberries to form mini decorations for the tree, and use one of the leafy tops of a strawberry to make the star for the top of the tree.