Did you know that you can take almost any classic recipe and make it lighter and healthier? Just substitute a few ingredients and voilà!

  • For example, you can lower sugar content by replacing granulated sugar with dry sweeteners and using fruit juice or molasses instead of heavy syrup.
  • To ensure moistness while lowering the fat content, opt for mashed avocado or banana instead of oil or shortening as an ingredient.
  • Spices also add plenty of flavor without adding sugar or fat.
  • And don’t forget to max out fiber levels with berries, oats, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Here are five healthier versions of delicious, festive holiday sweets (one is gluten-free and vegan), courtesy of the Food Network. We’ve added some cooking tips along the way to help make preparation virtually foolproof.

P.S. If you’re really not a kitchen whiz, two of these recipes are no-bake treats!

Almond snowballs

Makes 18 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites
  • Pinch coarse salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1½ cup coconut, shredded (approx. 6 oz.)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, grated or ground
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 9 candied red cherries, halved
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and salt to soft peaks, then add sugar and beat again until peaks are stiff. Beat in almond extract. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in half of the coconut. Sprinkle in the nutmeg and flour, stir, then fold in the remaining coconut.
  • Using a melon baller or other small scoop, or working with 2 spoons, form 18 “snowballs” about 2 inches apart, using 2 cookie sheets. Bake snowballs 12 to 15 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Remove from oven and garnish each snowball with half a cherry and a couple of slivered almonds. Transfer to a rack or serving plate to cool.

Nutrition

(serving size: 1 cookie)

Calories: 60; total carbs: 7 g; total fat: 3 g; saturated fat: 2 g; protein: 1 g; sodium: 16 mg; fiber: 1 g; sugars: 6 g

No-bake truffles

Makes 24 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried pitted dates, chopped (4 oz.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat or no-stir natural chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 full sheets whole wheat graham crackers, finely ground (about 1¼ cups)
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • Cooking spray
  • For coating: unsweetened coconut flakes, crushed graham crackers, finely chopped peanuts, low-fat granola (about 1/2 cup of each, optional)

Preparation

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the dates, water and lemon.
  • Simmer over medium heat, breaking up any large pieces of dates with a spoon, until the mixture resembles a thick paste, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the honey, peanut butter, cocoa powder, butter and salt until evenly combined. Stir in the graham crackers and oats. Remove from heat.
  • Lightly mist a baking sheet with cooking spray. Drop level tablespoons of the truffle mixture onto prepared sheet. Refrigerate until just chilled and set, about 20 minutes.
  • Put desired optional toppings in small bowls. Roll each truffle in desired topping and flatten slightly into a plump disk. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Serve chilled.

Nutrition

(serving size: 1 cookie)

Calories: 59; total carbs: 12 g; total fat: 2 g; saturated fat: 1 g; protein: 1 g; sodium: 56 mg; fiber: 1 g; sugars: 6 g

Speak with a dietitian today

No-bake cherry almond chocolate clusters

Makes 12 servings

Note: This recipe is gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 6 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped

Preparation

  • In a medium bowl, toss the almonds and cherries together. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
  • In the top of a double boiler over slightly simmering water (using the lowest possible heat), melt half the chocolate, stirring frequently. Cooking tip: Make sure the water is not touching the top pan.
  • Remove the double boiler from the heat and stir in the rest of the chocolate. Remove the top pan with the chocolate in it, gently wipe the bottom of it, and set it aside for a moment.
  • Replace the simmering water in the bottom pan with warm tap water. Put the pan of melted chocolate on top of the warm water. Cooking tip: This will keep the chocolate at the right temperature while you make the clusters.
  • Stir the fruit-nut mixture into the chocolate.
  • Spoon heaping tablespoon-sized clusters of the chocolate mixture onto the baking sheet about 1-inch apart. Put them in the refrigerator to set for 15 minutes. Store and serve at room temperature.

Nutrition

(serving size: 1 cookie)

Calories: 159; total carbs: 14 g; total fat: 11 g; saturated fat: 4 g; protein: 3g; sodium: 4 mg; fiber: 3 g; sugars: 8 g

Flu-fighter cookies

Makes 30 servings

Ingredients

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats (not instant)
  • 1¼ cups golden raisins
  • 1¼ cups dried cranberries
  • 1¼ cups roughly chopped walnuts, toasted

Preparation

  • Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
  • In a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next.
  • Add the molasses, yogurt, ginger and lemon zest and beat until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture to make a sticky batter (do not overmix).
  • Fold in the oats and half of the raisins, cranberries and walnuts. Mix the remaining dried fruit and nuts in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Top each with some of the reserved dried-fruit-and-nut mixture and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Bake the cookies until dark golden brown but still soft, about 10 to 12 minutes; cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Nutrition

(serving size: 1 cookie)

Calories: 147; total carbs: 25 g; total fat: 5 g; saturated fat: 2 g; protein: 2g; sodium: 59 mg; fiber: 1 g; sugars: 15 g

Oatmeal cookies

Makes 24 servings

Ingredients

  • Boiling water
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, spooned and leveled
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup apple butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)

Preparation

  • In a small bowl, add raisins and cover with boiling water. Let stand 5 minutes. Once plumped, drain raisins and set aside to cool completely.
  • Arrange oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the apple butter, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined; stir in the oats and raisins. Cooking tip: An electric hand mixer and separate bowl can be used instead of an all-in-one mixer.
  • Using a rounded tablespoon, drop the cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart (12 cookies per sheet).
  • Bake until the cookies are no longer wet-looking in the center, about 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutrition

(serving size: 1 cookie)

Calories: 62; total carbs: 12 g; total fat: 2 g; saturated fat: 1 g; protein: 2 g; sodium: 41 mg; fiber: 1 g; sugars: 6 g

Speak with a dietitian today

Bonus shopping tip: To avoid the hassle of crowded stores and parking lots this time of year, you might want to shop for groceries online and then simply schedule a convenient time to drive up and have the bags loaded into your car. Some grocers will even deliver to your door, produce and all!

’Tis the season to have fun in the kitchen. Before you start stirring and whirring, go ahead and download the Teladoc app so we’ll always be close at hand to help keep you safe and well during the holidays. Our board-certified doctors are available 24/7 anywhere you are to help diagnose and treat non-emergency conditions such as the flu, allergies, sinus and upper respiratory infections, upset stomach and digestive issues.

Want more tips for quick, healthy cooking? Schedule an appointment with a Teladoc registered dietitian. Register or log in to your Teladoc account now to get started.

To stay healthy this holiday season and into the new year, reach out to an expert to help you reach your goals. Here’s how to learn the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist.

Updated September 21, 2022

SOURCES
https://foodnetwork.com/
https://happyforks.com/analyzer

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