It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and that means it’s time for cookies! But not just any old cookies – only the healthiest, most delicious ones will do. Lucky for you, we’ve got some great recipes to get you started. From high-protein peanut butter cookies to whole grain gingerbread men, we’ve got something for everyone. So get out your mixing bowl and get ready to indulge in some healthy holiday baking!
Healthy Holiday Baking
Throughout the holiday season, we’re faced with a variety of temptations and opportunities to indulge. Between holiday parties, gift exchanges, and holiday meals, it’s easy to eat more than we planned. To keep yourself feeling your best this holiday season, try some healthy baking alternatives.
Peanut Butter Cookies
These Healthy Holiday Peanut Butter Cookies are not only delicious but they’re also high in protein and fiber-rich flours. That means there is no excuse to indulge in these babies!
High Protein Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a great source of protein and healthy fats. When combined with high-quality protein powder, it becomes an even more powerful tool for building muscle and losing weight. In fact, research has shown that peanut butter can help you lose weight when eaten in moderation as part of a healthy diet (1).
Whole Grain Goodness
These cookies are also made with whole wheat flour and oats, which add a boost of fiber. Fiber is important for healthy digestion and can help you feel fuller longer. Fiber is also key for maintaining a healthy weight because it helps to regulate blood sugar levels (2).
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons oat flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
- In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- Add baking soda and mix well. Then, gradually add protein powder, whole wheat flour, and oat flour
- Dough should be slightly sticky and firm at this point. If not, add more oat flour or protein powder. If it’s too firm, you can add a little bit of almond milk to loosen
- Spoon 1 tbsp of dough onto the cookie sheets, use a fork to make the classic criss-cross design on top, and bake for about 5 minutes.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container or freeze for later!
Makes 12 cookies. Nutrition (per 1 cookie): 82 Calories, 5 g Protein, 4 g Fat, 8 g Carbs, 1 g Fiber
Whole Grain Gingerbread Men
Gingerbread Men are a holiday staple for many people. They’re delicious, but they can also be filled with sugar and processed grains that may not be the best choice if you’re trying to eat more healthfully this season. These healthier Gingerbread Men use whole-grain oats and fresh ginger to pack in healthy nutrients and delicious flavors.
Whole Wheat For Health
One of the benefits of using whole-wheat flour in your Gingerbread Men is that it’s a good source of fiber. Fiber can help keep you feeling fuller longer, and it’s also important for digestive health. Additionally, fiber is known to have other health benefits like reducing the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer (2).
Beneficial Ginger Root
This recipe also contains a healthy dose of ginger. Ginger is a root that’s been used for centuries due to its flavor and health benefits. It can be difficult to eat enough fresh ginger root to get the full range of healthy phytonutrients, which is why using both dried and fresh ginger in this healthy Gingerbread Men recipe can help you easily incorporate it into your diet. Some of the healthy phytonutrients in ginger include antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds (3).
- 2 cups of whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/3 cup of ghee (or unsalted butter)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup applesauce
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of molasses
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon of water
- ⅓ cup almond milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the apple sauce, egg, molasses, ginger, and water and mix until well combined.
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and the almond milk to the butter mixture, stirring until just combined after each addition.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 1 minute.
- Roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness and use cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread men shapes. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 18 cookies. Nutrition (per 1 cookie): 117 Calories, 4 g Protein, 5 g Fat, 15 g Carbs, 3.5 g Fiber
Dark Chocolate Cookies
These cookies are made with dark chocolate, which has been shown to have many health benefits. They also contain a lot of fiber from oats, nuts and flaxseed meal. I’ll share how to make these healthy cookies in just five easy steps!
High in Healthy Ingredients
These cookies are made with dark chocolate, which has been shown to have many health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease and improving cognitive function (4). They also contain a lot of fiber from oats, walnuts and flaxseed meal, which has been shown to support weight loss, reduce cholesterol and improve gut health (2).
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks)
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
- 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed meal
- 3 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- Grind walnuts and oatmeal in a food processor until finely ground.
- Melt chocolate over a double boiler
- Mix chocolate, oatmeal, walnuts, flaxseed meal, honey or maple syrup, salt cocoa powder, and baking powder together in a bowl.
- Place dough in 1 tbsp spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 8-12 minutes.
Makes 12 cookies. Nutrition (per 1 cookie): 166 Calories, 8 g Protein, 8 g Fat, 18 g Carbs, 3.5 g Fiber
Each of these cookie recipes are great options for celebrating the holidays while keeping your health in mind. They’re high in fiber, antioxidants, and protein, thanks to delicious and healthy ingredients. What’s not to love? Give these recipes a try and have a happy holiday!
- Maira Bes-Rastrollo, Nicole M Wedick, Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, Tricia Y Li, Laura Sampson, Frank B Hu, Prospective study of nut consumption, long-term weight change, and obesity risk in women, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 89, Issue 6, June 2009, Pages 1913–1919, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2008.27276
- Kaczmarczyk, Melissa M et al. “The health benefits of dietary fiber: beyond the usual suspects of type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.” Metabolism: clinical and experimental vol. 61,8 (2012): 1058-66. https://doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2012.01.017
- Anh, Nguyen Hoang et al. “Ginger on Human Health: A Comprehensive Systematic Review of 109 Randomized Controlled Trials.” Nutrients vol. 12,1 157. 6 Jan. 2020, https://doi:10.3390/nu12010157
- Katz, David L et al. “Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease.” Antioxidants & redox signaling vol. 15,10 (2011): 2779-811. https://doi:10.1089/ars.2010.3697