Healthy Holiday Recipes for Your Favorite Sweet Treats

By Laurie Fanelli in Healthy Feeling

The holidays are approaching, and while that means spending more time with friends and family, enjoying decorative displays, and purchasing gifts, it’s also the season of indulgent eating. Healthy holiday recipes are a great way to treat yourself with your favorite seasonal flavors while staying on track with your wholesome diet. From meatless meals to low-calorie desserts to late-night guilt-free treats, give into your sweet tooth with these vegan, healthy holiday snacks.

Sweet Potato Banana CasseroleSweet potatoes can be a sweet and healthy part of a holiday meal

Let’s be honest—typical sweet potato dishes are designed as a way to sneak dessert onto your dinner plate. This healthier version eliminates the butter and marshmallows and incorporates potassium rich-bananas for a nutritious taste of sweetness. If you bring this vegan dish to your next holiday party, everyone will be asking for seconds (as well as the recipe).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 bananas
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork, place them on a baking sheet, and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Add the unpeeled bananas to the sheet, and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the pan, and let the sweet potatoes and bananas cool until you can handle them safely.

Remove the flesh of the bananas and sweet potatoes from their peels, and place them into a large bowl with half cup of pumpkin puree and the agave nectar. Stir all the ingredients together, and pour into a 9 by 13 baking dish.

Then combine the remaining pumpkin, flour, brown sugar, and walnuts in a mixing bowl to create a crumble topping. Place this crumble on top of the sweet potato mixture, and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Men

Why do gingerbread men always have to be made with the same basic dough recipe? Rather than using a buttery, sugar-laden base, I prefer to make Peanut Butter Men with whole-wheat flour for a tasty treat that satisfies sweet cravings and fills you up with actual nutrients.

The ingredients you need are:

  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple sauce
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the wet ingredients (peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, and apple sauce) into a large bowl, and mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) into another large bowl. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients a bit at a time until fully incorporated together. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is at about ¼-inch thickness. Use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to shape the cookies. Place each cookie onto an ungreased baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, and then let cool before digging in.

Vegan Hot ChocolateHealthy and delicious vegan hot chocolate

Plant-based hot chocolate may sound like a specialty item, but a steamy cup of vegan chocolaty-goodness can be made in a matter of minutes. The best part is you probably already have most of these ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry. One thing to remember: Most store-bought marshmallows are made with gelatin (which is derived from animals), but vegan options are available to be purchased at health food stores or online.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. raw sugar
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients into a pot, and stir until they’re fully incorporated. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for a few minutes. Pour into your favorite mug, sit back, and relax.

Healthy holiday recipes are the perfect way to honor traditions that have been passed down over generations without destroying your diet. Try some of these nutritious and delicious dishes with your family, and check out these vegan pie recipes for even more guilt-free dessert options. Let us know some of your favorite healthy recipe adaptations on Twitter!

Image sources: Wikimedia Commons | Wikimedia Commons | Wikimedia Commons

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

The holidays are the best time of year to share homemade dishes with family and friends. Rather than throwing your diet out the window this season, try some of these healthy holiday recipes at your next dinner party that are also a great vegan option almost everyone can eat.