How to make your holiday cookies healthier

There is no greater time of year to spend the day making cookies than this time.  For many families it is even tradition to spend one whole day baking goodies for friends and family.  I love receiving my annual cookies from my great family friends (Thanks Eileen! haha).   

Now there's no reason you have to nix holiday baking for the sake of saving calories. 
Check out the eating well website for ways to substitute common ingredients in cookies to make them a little healthier!  
Here are 3 cookie recipes to try out this holiday season.  They were created by Laurel Hudson, who is the culinary instructor at Wellspring Academies.  (Wellspring Academies is a non-surgical weightloss program designed for young adults and children).  So these recipes are great for the whole family as well.  

Gingerbread Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
½ cup Fiber One original bran cereal
1 package whole wheat gingerbread cake or cookie mix
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ginger
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ cup granulated Splenda
Pinch of salt
½ cup canned pure pumpkin
¼ cup warm water
3 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
6 packets of Truvia no calorie sweetener
Pam spray
1.        Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.        Line a baking pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with Pam.
3.        In a food processor, grind the cereal until it looks like flour, then pour into a bowl.
4.        Add the gingerbread mix, all the spices, the baking powder, Splenda, and salt and mix well.
5.        In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin with the warm water, molasses, and vanilla and mix well.
6.        Add the pumpkin mixture to the other bowl and stir until blended.
7.        Knead the dough to combine.
8.        Roll the dough into 1/2" balls, making 36 cookies dough balls total, and place them on the cookie sheet.
9.        Flatten balls or scoops with the back of a spoon dipped in the Truvia, so the dough doesn't stick to the spoon.
10.     Bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes, or until the edges are firm.
11.     Let cool for 5 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
12.     Remove from the pan and enjoy!
Approximate Nutritional Information:
54 calories/0.1g per cookie
Glazed Cranberry Orange Cookies
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup Splenda, granulated
1 tbsp egg whites
2 tsp orange zest
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ginger
1 cup chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white whole wheat flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
½ cup Splenda, granulated
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
Pinch of salt
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp orange extract
1.        Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.        Line a baking pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with Pam.
3.        Combine the applesauce, Splenda, egg whites, orange zest, salt, ginger, chopped cranberries, and vanilla in a bowl and stir.
4.        Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and stir until just combined, no longer.
5.        Drop by the small spoonful onto the baking pan.
6.        Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are firm.
7.        Combine the glaze ingredients and stir until smooth.
8.        Taste the glaze and adjust flavorings if needed.
9.        Let cool for 5 minutes, and then remove from the pan.
10.     Drizzle glaze over cookies.

 Approximate Nutritional Information:
27 calories/0.1g per cookie
Peppermint Meringue Crisps
Yield: 18 cookies
·          Juice of 1 lemon
·          2 egg whites
·          Pinch salt
·          ¼ tsp cream of tartar
·          ½ cup Splenda, granular
·          1 sugar free candy cane
·          ½ tsp vanilla extract
·          2 tbsp sugar
1.        Preheat the oven to 300 F.
2.        Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with Pam.
3.        Combine the egg whites, lemon juice, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
4.        Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites into a meringue, until the whites are thick and stand up in peaks.
5.        Add the Splenda and vanilla and whip for 30 seconds.
6.        Drop by the spoonful onto pan, making 12 cookies.
7.        Crush the candy cane into small bits.
8.        Sprinkle the candy cane on top of the cookies.
9.        Bake 1 ½ hours, then turn the oven off and let the cookies sit in the oven while it is left partially open until the oven is cool.
10.     Remove the cookies from the tray and enjoy!
Approximate Nutritional Information:
12 calories/ 0g fat per cookie 
I haven't had the chance to bake any of these cookies yet.  So let me know if you like try them out and how they are.  Enjoy these recipes and have a fun and fit night! 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: cookies, healthy, holidays


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  • Ashley, these sound awesome! The family and I are baking this weekend, these are definitely getting added to the list!

  • In reply to cubicledad:

    Great! I can't wait to hear how they turned out. Have a fun time baking with the family :)

  • In reply to cubicledad:

    I will have to try some of these out. I was never much of a cook, but I have always been a fan of cookies. Know I know how to make them healthier. Thanks for the info.

  • In reply to Bullsfa:

    You're welcome! Let me know if there's anything you'd like to hear more about. Have a great day.

  • In reply to cubicledad:

    Awwww.... Ash!!!! Thanks for the shout out! I am baking baking baking my heart out right now. Had to take a little break before I start the next batch :-) I assure you -- ALL of my cookies may not be "lean", but they all are made from organic ingredients!!! That's good, right??? Miss you sweetie!

  • In reply to g764557:

    haha You're welcome. All of your cookies are delicious! and that is fantastic that they are all made from organic ingredients. Organic is great for the body. Don't bake too hard :) Can't wait to try'em.

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