A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Healthy Christmas cookies? Sort of.

Plate of snickerdoodle cookies

Skinny snickerdoodles offer a lower-calorie option than many Christmas cookie recipes.

Recipes for healthy Christmas cookies abound online. But when it comes to nutrition, it’s never a black-and-white answer, said Jaimee Gregor, a Marshfield Clinic nutritionist.

“There are recipes that may call for less sugar or fat. But overall, you will still be consuming extra calories, even from ‘healthier’ ingredients,” she said. “It is a slippery slope if you go into the holiday season thinking the extra calories won’t really matter. One cookie can easily become two or 12!”

Healthier ingredients, balanced meals

Lightened up snickerdoodle cookie recipeYou can choose healthier cookie ingredients. Try to use whole grains, such as oatmeal, and healthy fats, such as canola oil or nuts, Gregor said. You can use Splenda in place of sugar.

It’s OK to enjoy a couple of your favorite cookies. “But, do you really need to make four dozen cookies?” Gregor asked.

If you want cookies, make an effort to increase activity. And, make sure your meals are balanced. You don’t need to drive yourself crazy counting calories if you use the Plate Method to plan meals.

Having a balanced meal that includes lean protein and fiber from fruits and vegetables will keep you feeling satisfied — which will make it easier to step away from the cookie jar, Gregor said.

Try new recipes, make new traditions

If you make healthy Christmas cookies, choose cookies you don’t enjoy as much (we know, it sounds silly but it works) so you’re less tempted to eat them, she said.

You also can try some healthier cookie recipes to dispel the myth that “healthy” can’t be delectable, Gregor said. Or, make new traditions that don’t involve food — make ornaments or other crafty gifts, wrap presents, go ice skating or snow shoeing, etc.

If you’re looking for a healthier cookie option this holiday season, check out this recipe:

Skinny Snickerdoodles

Plate of snickerdoodle cookiesPrep time: 30 minutes

Bake time: 5 minutes

Servings: 42 cookies (1 cookie per serving)


  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar, stirring with a whisk. Combine 1 cup of sugar and butter in a large bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add corn syrup, vanilla, and egg; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating just until combined. Cover and chill for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine 3 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon, stirring with a whisk. With moist hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar mixture. Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Flatten balls with the bottom of a glass. Bake at 375 F for 5 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft). Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Nutrition information

Each serving contains 54 calories; 1.3 g fat; 0.2 g fiber; 0.7 g protein; 10.1 g carbohydrates; 28 mg sodium

Source: Myrecipes.com

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