If you think the holiday food frenzy is off-limits for your friends and neighbors with dietary restrictions, think again. Christmas cookies don’t have to be bad for you. What’s even crazier? Health-conscious holiday recipes don’t have to taste bland.
Even though baking for loved ones with dietary restrictions can be challenging (because butter, eggs, and some sugars are a no-go), there are plenty of recipes that are both health-conscious and mindful of dietary restrictions. Whether you’re baking for your friends, family members, or neighbors, these fun Christmas cookie recipes are sure to make your holidays delicious and healthy.
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Holiday season or not, chocolate chip cookies seem to be at the top of any list of favorite cookies. These vegan chocolate chip cookies from “A Cozy Kitchen” are the perfect combination of gooey and chocolatey,—they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
With coconut oil, almond butter, and vegan chocolate chips, this recipe leaves out the preservatives and hard-to-pronounce ingredients found in many prepackaged vegan treats and boxed cookie mixes. The best part? They might even fool your non-vegan friends.
Soft-Glazed Gingerbread Cookies
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the classics. Gingerbread is a seasonal favorite, and there are endless variations of gingerbread-inspired cookie recipes. Gingerbread cookies can be crunchy or soft, dark or golden, and even spicy or mild. At only 154 kcal per serving, this soft-glazed gingerbread cookie recipe from the View from the Great Island is the perfect dessert to bring to a potluck or to bake at home. Plus, they stay soft days after baking (if they last that long).
This gingerbread dough is easy to roll, making it the perfect recipe for beginners. With the help of cookie stamps, you can make beautiful designs that are sure to delight your friends and neighbors.
Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Macaroons
If you still have a can of pumpkin leftover from the fall, these gluten-free raw chocolate pumpkin pecan macaroons from Civilized Caveman are to die for. Raw chocolate is significantly lower in fat than other forms of chocolate—and it’s also rich in magnesium, vitamin B, and antioxidants. Pumpkin also features high amounts of dietary fiber, which can help you feel full with fewer calories.
If you’re not a fan of heavy-duty baking, this recipe only calls for 10 minutes of active cook time, though the macaroons can take up to an hour to settle.
White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Biscotti means “twice-baked cookies” in Italian. When biscotti first originated in Italy, they were baked twice so that the cookies would develop a crunchy texture and form their distinctive shape. Biscotti is made by shaping the dough into a loaf and then cutting the loaf into cookies. Then, the cookies are baked again until they reach the desired crispy texture.
This white chocolate cranberry pistachio biscotti recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction is the perfect complement to Christmas morning coffee or tea. Cranberry is well known for its antioxidant benefits, while pistachios offer high levels of fiber and unsaturated fat to help keep your blood sugar and cholesterol in check.
The combination of red and green from the cranberry and pistachio make a festive cookie, and you can swap out the pistachios with other nuts to match your personal taste. For a healthier option, consider skipping out on the white chocolate coating.
Coconut Cream Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread cookies are a holiday classic, and this vegan coconut cream shortbread cookie recipe by Cucina Libera offers a healthy take on shortbread cookies without the high levels of sugar.
This shortbread cookie recipe contains roughly 80 grams of coconut, which offers a wide range of health benefits—from helping the body absorb calcium and magnesium to promoting bone health. Coconuts are also antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidants, making them a great choice for your immune system.
As fun as it is to share Christmas cookies, sometimes it can be overwhelming to accommodate all of your loved ones’ dietary restrictions. If you’re planning on sharing with your friends and neighbors this year, try these simple, health-conscious recipes to show them how much you appreciate them.
[Feature image: Unsplash]