Christmas 2016 is fast upon us, and getting some baking done for friends and family—as well as any parties you might be hosting—should happen this week.
Of course, there should be some decadent options available because everyone will expect it for the holidays. But that doesn’t mean clean eating has to take a hike for the next two weeks.
Christmas cookies recipes are more often than not loaded with butter, sugar, white flour and not much else. But healthy alternatives that actually taste good do exist, and they give guests options.
Healthy Christmas Cookie Recipes
Most people love a good cookie once in a while and will give in to the temptation happily. Over the holidays, however, the temptation is seemingly hourly at times, so pacing ourselves is important. Pounds can creep up rapidly over the course of December when festivities kick off, including parties with tons of delicious but not always nutritious food.
When baking for the holidays, mix it up a bit by preparing some traditional cookies, of course, along with a batch or two of some alternative choices that are more health conscious. How can that be possible?
It’s simply a matter of ingredient swapping. Instead of white flour, healthy cookie recipes would use almond or coconut flour and coconut sugar or maple syrup instead of white sugar.
Skipping butter in a good cookie recipe will be hard, but butter is natural and a good fat so not much to worry about there. The recipes below are more healthful alternatives to traditional holiday cookies but don’t skimp on taste one bit. Who knows—your guests might gobble these up first!
Strawberry Rose Ginger Bars
The Dough: *This recipe will make four bars. You will need: 1/2 cup activated almond flour, 1/2 cup activated raw almonds, finely ground, 1 1/2 cups activated oats, finely ground, 1/2 tsp. raw vanilla bean powder, 1/2 tsp. pink salt, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/2 cup maple syrup
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix completely. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness for the cookies.
Strawberry Rose Jam (to fill bars with): You will need: 1 cup strawberries, 10 dates, pitted and soaked in water for 30 minutes, 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. raw vanilla bean powder, 2 drops geranium essential oil, 1 tsp. grated ginger
Combine the ingredients in a blender on high until smooth. Place in a wide-mouth jar and dehydrate at 118 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour for jam.
To make the bars: Halve the dough. Roll out one portion 1/4 inch thick and spread with the homemade jam. Roll out the remaining dough and place it on top of the jam. Dehydrate this at 118 degrees F for two hours, and then cool in the refrigerator.
Cut into rectangles or squares. You can wrap the bars up in plastic wrap, place in freezer bags, and store for up to three months. Will keep at room temperature for a week, but they likely won’t last that long!
Festive Healthy Balls
Energy balls are delicious and great to have on hand for quick sources of fuel, but they can also be made for the holidays to satisfy a sweet tooth and keep people a bit full while they wait for dinner.
To make these easy balls, simply combine unsweetened natural peanut butter, shredded organic coconut, chocolate chips, some cinnamon, crushed walnuts, and maple syrup to taste.
Amounts depend on your taste. The peanut butter will hold everything together. Mix, and then roll into three bite-sized balls. Keep chilled in the fridge for up to two weeks but leave at room temperature 20 minutes before eating.
Luckel, M., “Unconventional Healthy Christmas Cookie Recipes From Moon Juice,” Vogue web site, December 13, 2016; http://www.vogue.com/13512767/healthy-christmas-cookie-recipes-moon-juice/, last accessed December 19, 2016.