Tasty Tip: Healthier Holiday Desserts

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Tasty Tip: Healthier Holiday Desserts

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Healthy Banana Bread

Finally, it’s time to consider some healthy desserts. In moderation, of course!

Fruits make a healthy and festive base for holiday desserts. You can easily throw together these mini apple tarts 1 or apple-pear crisp 2, using maple syrup as a natural sweetener. Better yet, bake apples 3 or pears 4, with a scoop of frozen yogurt on the side, for your own portion-controlled dessert!

Some fruits can also be used as a fat-replacement. For example, when you make oatmeal cookies for a holiday get-together or cookie exchange/swap, try replacing half the butter or oil with applesauce or pumpkin. With applesauce, mashed banana, pumpkin puree and similar fruits, it is easy to make healthier versions of sweet breads, muffins, and cookies! These healthier pumpkin bread 5 and banana bread 6 recipes make a warm, festive holiday treat.

Want to get a bit fancier for your family’s big holiday meal? Incorporate cranberries – great source of vitamin C, antioxidants and flavonoids to help protect you from certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke – in your holiday desserts. Try these cranberry orange muffins 7 or apple-cranberry crumble 8. For the cookie platter, make these healthier raspberry thumbprints 9 using fresh or frozen raspberries, preserves or jam (see recipe below). You can also decorate healthier gingerbread 10 or sugar 11 cookies with your family. Pretty and tasty!

If your holiday get-togethers are anything like mine, you may not have time to let your body digest before dessert is served. The key to managing your intake of holiday meals and desserts is to listen to your fullness cues and, remember, moderation! If you are too full to eat dessert right after dinner, wait! If you are too full to eat dessert that night, pack yourself some for the next day! Listen to your body when it tells you that you are full! This will help you avoid the over-stuffed feeling that can lead to heart burn and/or painful digestion. Stay mindful and enjoy your holiday!

Happy Holidays!

View more nutrition and wellness tips

Raspberry Preserves/Jam Recipe 12

To make your own raspberry preserves/jam for these yummy cookies, add 3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries and ¼ cup maple syrup into a medium pot and bring to a simmer. After 5 minutes or so, stir in 2 tablespoons chia seeds. Continue to cook down the mixture for about 15 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Chill in the fridge for a couple hours to thicken jam even more.


  1. Pullman, J. "Mini Walnut Apple Tart." Nourished Simply. Jennifer Pullman, 2016. Web. nourishedsimply.com/mini-walnut-apple-tart/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  2. Rizzo, N. "A Dessert You Can Eat for Breakfast! Apple & Pear Crisp." Nutrition a la Natalie. Solo Pine, 2016. Web. nutritionalanatalie.com/apple-pear-crisp/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  3. Cox, J. "Baked Apples with Cinnamon-Oat Topping Recipe." Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017. Web. www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/baked-apples-with-cinnamon-oat-topping-recipe.  Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  4. Serbinski, K. "Baked Pears with Crunchy Topping." Mom to Mom Nutrition. Mom to Mom Nutrition, LLC, 3 December, 2015. Web. momtomomnutrition.com/food-and-recipes/baked-pears-with-crunchy-topping/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  5. Lyndon, K. "Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread." The Foodie Dietitian Blog. Kara Lyndon, 28, September, 2017. Web. karalydon.com/recipes/whole-wheat-pumpkin-chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  6. Sarah. "A Healthier Banana Bread." The Simple Dietitian. The Simple Dietitian, 29 June, 2012. Web. thesimpledietitian.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/a-healthier-banana-bread/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  7. Pullman, J. "Cranberry Orange Muffin." Nourished Simply. Jennifer Pullman, 2016. Web. nourishedsimply.com/cranberry-orange-muffin/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  8. Jones, J. "Apple Cranberry Crumble." The Lifestyle Dietitian. The Lifestyle Dietitian, 2017. Web. www.thelifestyledietitian.com/apple-cranberry-crumble-recipe/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  9. Hill, M. "Almond Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies." Nutrition Stripped. Nutrition Stripped, 15 December, 2015. Web. nutritionstripped.com/almond-raspberry-thumbprint-cookies/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  10. "Iced Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies." Eating Well. Eating Well, Inc., 2017. Web.  www.eatingwell.com/recipe/253134/iced-gingerbread-cut-out-cookies/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  11. Johnson, K. "Healthy Holiday Sugar Cookies." Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eat Right Chicago, 22 December, 2016. Web. eatrightchicago.org/healthy-holiday-sugar-cookies/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.
  12. Liddon, A. "Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares." Oh She Glows. Glow Bakery Corporation, 9 September, 2014. Web. ohsheglows.com/2014/09/09/raspberry-chia-seed-jam-oat-crumble-squares-vegan-gluten-free/. Accessed 1 December, 2017.