What’s a holiday without the fun of whipping up holiday treats in the kitchen?

The good news: you can still continue your Christmas traditions of making holiday treats—but without all the calories. It’s all about the secret power of substitutions. For instance, I make peanut butter oatmeal no bake cookies and substitute monk fruit for sugar. The cookies are still delicious—and no one has to know it’s healthier than the alternative!

Check out this great substitutions list from the MD Anderson Center. It includes substitutions like pureed fruit instead of frosting, dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, or yogurt in place of buttermilk.

We’ve also rounded up 8 recipes for healthy holiday treats below.

Maple Date Bars

Ever seen one of those health bars and wondered how in the world something with so few ingredients can taste so darn good? It’s the power of the date, y’all.


162 calories per serving

  • 1 ¾ cups finely chopped pitted dates (about 12 ounces)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Get the full recipe here.

Healthy Holiday Buckeyes

These sugar-free buckeyes get their sweetness from maple syrup instead of all that unhealthy processed sugar. 


119 calories per serving

  • 1 cup drippy, all-natural peanut butter (we used Kirkland All-Natural)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut, pulsed in food processor
  • 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (we used Tera’s Whey)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark or dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, pulsed in food processor

Get the full recipe here.

Dark Chocolate-Pistachio Tart

Free of sugar and wheat but still full of intense flavor, this dark chocolate-pistachio tart is a chocolate lover’s dream.


265 calories per serving

  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp. raw unsalted shelled pistachios, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 10 ounces 70% dark chocolate bar, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Get the full recipe here.

Honey Cinnamon Cookies

What’s Christmas without some cookies? These Honey Cinnamon Cookies bring the sweetness to the table through coconut sugar and honey, rather than refined sugar. 

(P.S. Looking for local honey? We have you covered.)


131 calories per serving

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil softened (not melted)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Get the full recipe here.

Healthy Cowboy Cookies

Healthier than traditional chocolate chip cookies, these cowboy cookies are still just as chocolatey delicious.


Calories not listed

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet or dairy-free chocolate chips
  • melted chocolate for drizzling, optional

Get the full recipe here

Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

The secret to the sweetness in this soft gingerbread cookie cookie? Molasses and sweet potatoes. (Yes, really!)


  • 1 medium sweet potato to make 2/3 cup sweet potato mash
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons molasses

Find the full recipe here.

Healthy Chocolate Truffles

Avocado, in a truffle? You bet. This recipe takes advantage of avocado’s ability to take on any flavor to add creaminess to this truffle. Don’t worry, your guests don’t have to know that avocado is your secret truffle weapon.


48 calories per serving

  • 1/2 cup ripe avocado
  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder on the side, for dusting

Get the full recipe here.

Healthy Peppermint Chocolate Cookies

We’d be remiss not to include a recipe with a pop of peppermint. This recipe opts for almond butter as the fat, and coconut sugar instead of refined sugar. From the kiddos to Santa, no one will be able to say no to these yummy cookies.


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond butter (must be drippy and 100% almond based)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • optional: pinch of sea salt or crushed candy cane

Get the full recipe here.