Counting calories during the holidays may as well be a task for only the mightiest among us. The effort either requires enormous willpower or a serious dislike for holiday dishes. Aside from the calories, however, the holidays are often a time when cooking and baking together is part of the joy of the season. 

That is why we’ve scoured the internet to compile a list of holiday cookie recipes that are more merciful on your waistline than their classic counterparts. You’ll find that it is possible to enjoy the tastes of the season without succumbing to the siren call of comfy sweatpants. 

01.

This recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie is a no-bake take on classic peanut butter cookies! This version tosses the flour and substitutes it with protein powder! The addition of applesauce is a surprising twist, but, including it in the cookie “dough” ensures your cookies are moist and still sweet despite the reduced sugar content. 

02.

Nothing says December like cold weather and snow-capped mountains. So, a natural season favorite would have to be Snowball Cookies! Arman Liew shares his festive recipe on The Big Man’s World. With only 4 ingredients, and no baking involved, you can see why this recipe is hailed as a simple yet delicious treat. No kitchen savviness required.  

03.

Recipe #3 – Flourless Tahini Cookies 

If you’re unfamiliar with Tahini, it’s a sauce or paste made from toasted sesame seeds. On its own, it can be somewhat bitter, though some people will eat it by the spoonful as a cough suppressant. Does it work? We’re not sure, but does it make some great cookies? Yes, yes it does. Try out this recipe by Jyothi on The Curry Trail and let us know what you think of this nutty, low-fat cookie! 

04.

With sliced almonds stepping in for oats, these “oatmeal” cookies are a low carb alternative to the real thing. The only actual oat component is some oat fiber which is added to give these cookies their texture. Recipe creator, Kim Hardesty, suggests substituting this ingredient for coconut flour if you want to go completely oat free. Check out her instructions on Low Carb Maven 

05.

Recipe #5 – Healthy Gingerbread Cookies 

The holidays are not complete without the spicy snap of gingerbread cookies. Easy to make, fun to decorate, and delicious to share, this seasonal favorite now comes in a healthier recipe. You won’t find a trace of refined flour or sugar, or any butter (if you choose coconut oil) in these wintertime treats. You’ll also get some tips on how to get that perfect gingerbread man shape. The details are all here, on Amy’s Healthy Baking website. 

06.

These Coconut Cookies are Paleo friendly, vegan, gluten-free, and even dairy-free. This recipe calls for only 4 ingredients, but the secret to this baked good is in the technique, not in any secret ingredients or special substitutions. Demeter breaks down her process in a detailed step by step guide on Beaming Baker. Take a look! 

07.

Recipe #3 – Flourless Tahini Cookies 

We had to include a recipe that plays on the classic oatmeal raisin cookie. Naturally sweetened with honey and made with nutritious ingredients like oats, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries, these energy-packed cookies deserve more time in the day than just breakfast. Regina’s popular recipe can be found on Leelalicious 

08.

Recipe #8 – Skinny Snickerdoodles 

We close off our list with another recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie because making snickerdoodles healthy looks like a tough undertaking, and this recipe looks just right. With different options for your flour and sweetener, and only a quarter cup of butter, skinny snickerdoodles look like a great addition to our holiday cookie list. Fill your kitchen with the smells of warm cinnamon and watch everyone within sniffing distance come by to investigate. 

It’s okay to indulge in a few healthier snacks this season, and of course, moderation is key. Some treats, like dark chocolate and almonds, even have some health benefits. To keep from over-indulging, read our registered dietitian’s Super Snacking Guide for ideas on how to keep your snacking on the healthy side. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

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