Healthy Dessert Options for the Holidays

healthy holiday desserts
This post is sponsored by goodnessknows. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you’ve been following Hungry Runner for a while now, then you know I’m an advocate of going all-in for the holidays.

What I mean by that, is that I don’t think you should worry about how “unhealthy” a certain dessert is or whether or not a decadent dish has too much butter or cheese or whatever demonized ingredient the mainstream media repeatedly tells us will “pack on the pounds.”

Especially at a time of year that’s about giving thanks and spreading love, no one should be worrying about whether an extra cookie will make them “fat” or if grandma’s oh-so-buttery mashed potatoes have “too many calories.”

Basically, I’m an advocate for enjoying the foods that you love. During the holidays and at all times of the year. It’s as simple as that.

That said, on a slightly different side of the spectrum, I also know what’s it like to have health and fitness goals and that sticking to them any time, but especially around the holidays, can be a big challenge.

I know that while accidentally going overboard on cookies or cake or whatever holiday treat you love most isn’t the end of the world, it can still leave you feeling defeated and like you backtracked on your goals.

When this is the case, sometimes finding alternatives — like these slightly lighter, just a bit “healthier” desert recipes — is a better option. For some it might mean sticking with them as your go-to desserts at family gatherings and parties, or balancing them with your favorite “nonalternative” treats (i.e., the more traditional, heavier desserts) as a way to avoid “overdoing” it. Either way, I’m also an advocate of doing what works for you, and if incorporating healthier versions of holiday sweet treats can help you keep your goals on track and more importantly, feel good about yourself, then by all means, whip up a batch of low-sugar cookies.

Healthier Dessert Recipes for the Holidays

My friends at goodnessknows know exactly what I’m talking about because in making their gk snack squares, they’ve incorporated exactly the kind of balance that I’m referring to here. The yummy squares are made of nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate and they make for a perfectly healthy sweet and savory snack.

As you might have noticed,  I’ve been working with goodnessknows over the past few months. This post is actually the final post in a four-part series, and given the holidays are finally here, I decided this was the perfect topic to finish off with.

Dessert is totally relevant all year long, though, so definitely don’t limit your baking to the any specific season. And most importantly, enjoy your favorite foods, “healthified” or not, all the damn time.

Now that I’ve ranted just a bit more than I had planned to, without further ado, here are four totally scrumptious baked goods perfect for your holiday celebrations (and beyond)!

Easy, Healthy Sugar Cookies
Easy, Healthy Sugar Cookies

These cookies are easily one of my all-time favorite recipes. They are so simple to make and even with less sugar and butter, they are still oh-so-tasty and sweet. My favorite part is that they’re so versatile. You can get creative with decorating them any way you want or load them up with your favorite add-ins, like chocolate or peanut butter chips.

white chocolate chip cake batter protein bars
White Chocolate Chip, Cake Batter Protein Bars

I know, protein bars don’t really seem like a “dessert,” but trust me when I say these certainly taste like dessert. You will not be disappointed. Plus, these have the added benefit of protein, which is a nutrient that helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. (P.S. Any type of vanilla protein powder should work just fine with these.)

Mini Strawberry Heart Pop Tarts
Mini Strawberry Heart Pop Tarts

What says “happy holidays” better than a baked good with a big red heart plopped right smack-dab in the middle of it? I can’t really think of anything. I also can’t think of many things better then homemade pop tarts. Enough said.

chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies

Easy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

If you’re on the hunt for the easiest of easy recipes, then this one is your guy. They’re pretty basic, but that definitely doesn’t mean they’re not delicious.

What are your favorite holiday desserts and dessert recipes? Let me know in the comments below!

Also! Don’t forget to check out my Holiday Giveaway Bonanza, going on through the end December. You can enter to win a ton a different prizes, including Jason of Strength Running’s Injury Prevention for Runners program. Get all the details here!