For any fitness enthusiast, there is no time of the year as dreaded as the holidays. Maybe it’s Grandma’s pumpkin pie or Aunt Annie’s Pecan Sandies that sets you over the edge, but there is a better way to sit back and relax with friends or family members after the main course. We rounded up recipes for three of our favorite healthy holiday desserts, so you can get right to baking without an ounce of guilt. Keep reading to learn more!
Healthy Holiday Desserts
These scrumptious recipes contain significantly less sugar and calories than their fattening counterparts. Try one or try them all for office holiday parties, dessert buffets, or any occasion worth celebrating.
Maple-Apple Pecan Crunch Pumpkin Pie
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup
- 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ½ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup evaporated fat-free milk
- 2 medium Gala or Jonathan apples or 2 ripe pears
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 1- ½-quart soufflé dish, 8-inch springform pan, or 8 4-ounce ramekins; set aside. For filling, in a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, honey, and pie spice. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat lightly with a fork just until combined. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into prepared dish, pan, or ramekins. If using a springform pan, place on a foil-lined baking sheet. If using ramekins, place in a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes for dish or pan or 30 to 35 minutes for ramekins or until center appears set when gently shaken. Cool one hour on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least two hours or up to 24 hours before serving.
- Meanwhile, core, quarter and thinly slice apples (or pears) and place in a large skillet with the water. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 5 minutes or just until softened and pliable but not mushy. Drain off liquid.
- To serve the pie, arrange the cooked apple (or pear) slices atop the pumpkin. Sprinkle with pecans (or walnuts) and drizzle with maple syrup. If using a springform pan, loosen pumpkin from sides of pan by running a thin metal spatula around the edge; cut into wedges to serve. If using soufflé dish, spoon pumpkin out of the dish onto serving plates.
Strawberry-Lime Ice Cream Pie
- 2 cups coarsely crumbled graham crackers
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
- 2 cups sliced strawberries, divided
- 2 tablespoons white rum
- 1 tablespoon lime zest, divided
- To prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
- Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add oil and process until well combined. Using your fingertips or the back of a spoon, press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until just set, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- To make the filling: Whip cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until starting to thicken. Add sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in yogurt.
- Clean out the bowl of the food processor and puree 1 cup strawberries. Gently fold the strawberry puree, rum, and 2 teaspoons lime zest into the yogurt-cream mixture.
- Spread the flavored yogurt-cream mixture into the cooled crust. Top with the remaining 1 cup strawberries and remaining 1 teaspoon lime zest. Freeze until very firm, at least 5 hours. To serve, let the pie stand at room temperature until softened slightly, about 15 minutes, before slicing.
- Make Ahead Tip: Once frozen, wrap airtight, and freeze for up to 1 week. Let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.
Vanilla Candy Cane Peppermint Bars
- Nonstick cooking spray
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup crushed peppermint candies
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges. Coat foil with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl beat sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla with a mixer on medium 2 minutes or until slightly thick and pale yellow. Beat in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt just until combined. Stir in 2 tbsp. of the peppermint candies. Spread batter in the prepared pan.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are puffed and the top is golden. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Using foil, lift uncut bars out of the pan. Cut into bars.
- Line a tray with parchment paper. Dip one corner of each bar into melted chocolate and place on the prepared tray. Sprinkle chocolate with the remaining peppermint candies. Let stand until set.
We hope that these healthy holiday desserts inspire you to eat and live well throughout the holiday season.