Norman Regional Health System

Monday, December 18, 2017

By Lauren Iacobucci, Dietetic Intern for The University of Oklahoma College of Allied Health Sciences

The holidays can be one of the toughest times of the year when one is attempting to stay on track and eat mindfully. Family and friends gather around with endless amounts of food, including the most tempting food of all, those sinful desserts. Don’t feel like you need to avoid the dessert table at you next holiday gathering. It’s important to remember everything in moderation! However, if your job this year is preparing the dessert, there are ways you can modify them to keep everyone eating less sugar and fat without altering the taste and also keep those holiday pounds to a minimum! Here are some tips to adjust your favorite desserts.

  • If the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter use 1 cup of applesauce, fig paste, or pumpkin in its place to eliminate some of those unhealthy fats.
  • Remove about ¼ cup of sugar from your recipes.  No one will notice a difference; it can be your little secret.
  • Replace about 25 percent of your white flour with whole wheat flour. For example, if your recipe asks for 4 cups of white flour you can replace 1 cup with whole wheat flour.
  • Use low-fat dairy products or milk substitutes like almond and coconut milk in place of those high-fat dairy products.

There are many other methods to tweak your desserts to make them a healthier option; it’s all about experimenting. Here is a modified recipe for you to try for one of your holiday desserts.


Gingerbread Cookies

1 ¼ cup White Flour

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

2 teaspoons Ground Ginger

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

½ teaspoon Ground Cloves

¼ teaspoon Salt

¾ cup Pumpkin

¾ cup Granulated Sugar

1 egg

1 Tablespoon orange juice

¼ cup molasses

3 tablespoons Granulated sugar


  1. Combine all dry ingredients (flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt)
  2. Cream together pumpkin and ¾ cup sugar.
  3. Add 1 egg to the sugar mixture, and beat until mixture is fluffy.
  4. Combine the molasses and orange juice to the sugar mixture.
  5. Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time until combined.
  6. Place in your freezer for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Portion your dough into 2 tablespoon balls, and roll in ¼ cup sugar. Slightly flatten the dough, and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat until all the dough is utilized.
  9. Bake for 9-11 minutes.
  10. Have a happy holiday!  

Nutrition Facts: 103 Calories, 0.6g Fat, 91.9mg Sodium, 22g Carbohydrates, 6.8g Sugar, 1g Dietary Fiber, 2.5g Protein