A Dietitian’s 5 Healthier Holiday Cookie Recipes

Holiday cookies are a staple in countless households around the world. What would the season be without them? As we know, most holiday cookies are full of calories from fats, sugar and low-fiber flours. They can also be untouchable for those on gluten-free, heart-healthy or low-sugar diets. Not to mention anyone trying to meet or maintain weight goals. Thankfully, there are so many options for baking up some healthy treats this holiday.

Here are some delicious, healthier recipes to try and some tricks to make your traditional cookie recipes a little better for you.

Lightened Up and Nutritious Holiday Cookie Recipes

1. Low Fat Gingerbread Cookies by SkinnyTaste

SkinnyTaste is well known for her lightened up cookie recipes and this one in particular decreases calories from saturated fat. This low-fat cookie recipe only has three tablespoons of butter and replaces the rest with all-natural applesauce.

Get the recipe here

2. Paleo Peppermint Chocolate Crinkle Cookies by Healthy Maven

These paleo peppermint chocolate crinkle cookies are a great option for all those who need to stick to a gluten-free diet. They contain almond meal and coconut flour versus the regular bleached baking flour. Not only does this strip the cookies of gluten but it adds fiber and healthy fats.

Get the recipe here

3. Healthy Chocolate Shortbread Cookies by ImmaEatThat

Nothing is more quintessential than shortbread cookie during the holidays and this recipe proves they can be more than a treat. These cookies replace a large majority of the butter with applesauce and are packed with protein from using garbanzo bean flour. Sounds more like shortbread protein bar to us!  

Get the recipe here

4. Protein Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies by PaleOmg

We don’t know about you, but our pumpkin obsession lasts long after Thanksgiving. These protein pumpkin cookies are filled with so many nutritious swaps. The coconut sugar makes it lower on the glycemic index scale and the protein powder makes it a healthy treat that won’t spike your blood sugar. Enjoy one of these after a class for a high protein snack.

Get the recipe here

5. Chocolate Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies by Fit Foodie Finds

The green color of the pistachios in these cookies scream seasonal. This healthy take on thumbprint cookies is made with amazing ingredients such as cashew meal and dairy-free chocolate. You would never guess that it is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian. These are on the top of our list just because they have a nice dollop of dark chocolate in the middle. These are also very low in sugar for anyone trying to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in their diet.  

Get the recipe here

Healthy baking substitutions you can experiment with at home

If you’re looking for healthier ways to enjoy your own recipes, check out this handy list of baking substitutions to try. Bonus? You may already have a lot of these substitutions in your kitchen.

As you can see, there are so many ways to make recipes lighter, more nutrient dense or to fit a certain diet. While we do think it is awesome to make lighter versions of your favorite recipe, if you decide not to, that is totally okay! Even the most decadent cookie can fit into a diet in moderation. Enjoy mindfully this holiday season.

Happy Baking!

Gabriella is a registered dietitian living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently works in corporate wellness as a dietitian and overall wellness coach. She also runs a food blog called Macrobalanced, where she shows people that healthy and balanced eating can be interesting and tasty! She enjoys all things fitness from lifting heavy weights in the gym to hitting the barre. Nothing is off limits as long as sweat is involved. When she is not cooking or sweating, she is playing with her dog Maui, a lively German Shepherd. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.