Many people ditch their diets during the holidays, indulging in more sugary and fatty treats than they’d normally allow. Others avoid sweets altogether. But it really isn’t necessary to go to extremes—there are plenty of healthier options out there that will satisfy your cravings without leaving you amassed with dietary guilt. LivingHealthy has 10 (almost) guilt-free winter dessert recipes sure to win over all of your health-oriented friends and family this holiday season. And trust us, no one will notice the difference when it comes to taste!
Healthy Ginger Cookies
Chewy ginger cookies are a holiday staple, but they don’t have to be a dietary splurge.
Key ingredients: Whole-wheat pastry flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, vegetable shortening, coconut sugar, egg, molasses, sugar (for rolling dough in).
Why you won’t feel guilty: Replacing processed white flour with whole-wheat flour and ditching refined sugar for coconut palm sugar (which has a lower glycemic index) make these a healthier option than your traditional ginger cookies.
Dark Chocolate Detox Bites
Get your chocolate fix (while you detox) with these homemade dark chocolate bites covered with colorful superfoods like dried fruit, seeds and nuts.
Key ingredients: Dark chocolate, assorted dried fruits, nuts, seeds.
Why you won’t feel guilty: Three of these bites equate to a one-ounce dose of heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich flavonoids, which help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. Choose your topping to optimize the health benefits you desire.
Gluten-Free Rum Balls
These crumbly and moist brownie-like balls are rich and chocolatey, and can be made with or without alcohol.
Key ingredients: Bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, unsalted butter, sour cream or Greek yogurt, gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, kosher salt, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, cream cheese, gluten-free rum, dark chocolate, virgin coconut oil.
Why you won’t feel guilty: They may not be low-fat, but these chocolate treats are the perfect indulgence for all the gluten-free folks out there.
Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
This gluten-free versionof Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake is so decadent, fudgy and rich that your guests probably won’t be able to taste the difference.
Key ingredients: Organic sugar, gluten-free all-purpose baking mix, Hershey’s Cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda, eggs, organic milk, olive oil, vanilla extract, water, organic butter, organic powdered sugar.
Why you won’t feel guilty: It may not be low in fat or calories, but if you prefer gluten-free, this is the cake for you.
Healthy Frozen Yogurt Bark
Replace sugary chocolate bark with yogurt, top with nutritious nuts and berries, and voilà—you have a healthy, kid-friendly snack.
Key ingredients: Greek yogurt, honey, cranberries, raisins, strawberries, dark chocolate chips, coconut.
Why you won’t feel guilty: Much lower in sugar than your traditional bark and packed with protein, this sweet treat is both yummy and energy-boosting.
Greek Yogurt Truffles
Crunchy on the outside yet creamy on the inside, it’s hard to believe these sweet and fudgy balls are actually good for you.
Key ingredients: White or dark chocolate (can be made with sugar-free chocolate), Greek yogurt, coconut flakes. For dark chocolate truffles, add cocoa powder.
Why you won’t feel guilty: Containing protein from the Greek yogurt and low in sugar, these truffles are a sinless snack.
Baked Rhubarb Oatmeal
Healthy enough for breakfast and delectable enough for dessert, this quick and easy recipe is a true crowd-pleaser.
Key ingredients: Rhubarb, rolled oats, almonds, chia seeds, cinnamon, salt, homemade almond milk, olive oil.
Why you won’t feel guilty: Gluten- and sugar-free, this rhubarb bake is perfect for all of your friends and family with dietary restrictions.
Double Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
With their soft and gooey center and crispy oatmeal exterior, these one-bowl drop cookies will melt in your mouth.
Key ingredients: Almond butter, butter (vegan butter and coconut oil can also be used), honey, egg, vanilla extract, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, rolled oats, chocolate chips, dried cherries.
Why you won’t feel guilty: Wholesome ingredients are paired with dark chocolate and antioxidant-rich dried cherries for more nutrition—without sacrificing any deliciousness.
Biscotti is the perfect crunchy accompaniment to coffee. This healthier, gingerbread-infused version is packed with flavor without all the butter and sugar.
Key ingredients: Brown sugar, applesauce, eggs, molasses, flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, salt, melted white chocolate for dipping.
Why you won’t feel guilty: Much lighter and lower in fat than traditional biscotti, this holiday-flavored snack is a more health-oriented alternative.
Vegan Hot Chocolate
Just like hot chocolate without the dairy, this cozy winter favorite is a true crowd pleaser.
Key ingredients: Nondairy milk or water, cocoa or carob powder, liquid stevia, vanilla extract.
Why you won’t feel guilty: The lack of dairy and sugar makes this warm and fuzzy winter drink a perfect alternative to traditional hot chocolate for vegans.