Eat, Drink, Be Merry – with Healthy Holiday Recipes

December 9, 2022
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Healthy holiday recipes to enjoy yourself at all of your gatherings this year.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to celebrate with family and friends, but it often doesn’t feel that way when you’re trying to stick with your new healthy, slimming lifestyle. While everyone around you is indulging in what used to be your favorite treats and drinks, it can feel next to impossible to crush your cravings, stick to your new diet, and not feel left out. The good news is there are healthy holiday recipes to maintain your energy, your waistline, and your holiday cheer!

From cocktails to candies, here are my favorite healthy holiday recipes for guilt-free goodies to keep you on track with your health and weight loss goals while enjoying all the festivities.

Cranberry Vodka Spritzer

If you want to indulge in a little holiday libation without sabotaging your weight loss efforts, a good choice would be a small amount of gluten free vodka. If you are at a party you can easily order vodka with a twist of lime or a splash of cranberry juice, but if you are the party host, you can wow your guests with this delicious spritzer.

My favorite gluten-free brands of vodka that I like to have on hand at holiday parties are:

  • Crystal Head – distilled from a variety of corn called “peaches and cream,”
  • Chopin – distilled from potatoes
  • Tito’s – distilled entirely from corn mash (a less expensive, but still very good option)
  • Blue Ice – distilled from Idaho russet potatoes (my home state)


1 to 2 Tablespoons of organic frozen berries of your choice
4 ounces chilled, unsweetened cranberry juice
1 shot gluten free vodka
4-5 drops Liquid Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener or Sweet Leaf Stevia drops
4 ounces sparkling mineral water like Perrier or San Pellegrino
Mint leaves or slice of lime to garnish

Spoon frozen berries into a glass. Pour cranberry juice and vodka over the fruit. Gently stir in liquid sweetener to taste. Slowly pour sparkling water in glass and gently stir one more time. Top with garnish and make a toast to good health!

Flourless Brownies

This recipe comes from our beloved former chef Teresa! She is a pro at lightly sweetening delicious treats without using sugar. Lakanto sweeteners are made with monk fruit and have a little erythritol added. If erythritol bothers your digestion then feel free to use pure monk fruit sweetener in its place or organic maple syrup if you tolerate it. The recipe replaces the usual flour with nutritious nut butter and plenty of rich cacao and chocolate. Your family and friends won’t even know these brownies are good for them!


1 cup almond butter
2 medium zucchini, shredded
1/3 cup Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Lily’s brand chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Coconut oil or avocado oil spray

Lightly oil a 9″ x 9″ baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread into baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Notes: No need to peel the zucchini before shredding. Try substituting other nut butters and nuts. (We love these with cashew butter and cashews.) Add a little more or use less syrup according to taste. You can also substitute regular Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener or Sweet Leaf Powdered Stevia for the syrup.

Jammy Thumbprint Cookies

For this holiday season, what could be better than a healthy, Radical Metabolism-friendly version of a childhood favorite holiday cookie recipe? These delightful cookies are a healthy take on an old Scandinavian favorite.


Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup organic pastured butter, softened
1-2 scoops Pure Monk sweetener, or to taste
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons chia seed meal, (grind seeds in coffee grinder or Nutra Bullet) (1/2 tablespoon chia seeds is equal to about 1 tablespoon meal)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
2/3 cup almond flour
2/3 cup coconut flour
2/3 cup pure fruit, unsweetened raspberry or blueberry jam


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix tapioca starch, almond flour and coconut flour together in a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat in butter, Pure Monk, applesauce, chia seed meal and vanilla until combined. Scoop dough, one tablespoon at a time, and roll into little balls. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Using your thumb, create an indentation on the top of each cookie. Fill each thumbprint with 1 teaspoon jam. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Snack Foods for the Road

Distant family and friends mean holiday road trips for many of us. Ditch the greasy potato chips and hotel breakfasts and try these healthy holiday snacks instead:

  • Bhu Fit Vegan Protein Bars – these are my go-to snack when I’m on the road. Sweetened with monk fruit, these satisfy hunger without packing on the pounds or adding inflammation. My favorite flavor is Salted Caramel + Pecan!
  • Pro Granola or Paleonola – sprinkle either of these on top of a bowl of berries (fresh or frozen), drizzle with coconut cream and add a dash of UNI KEY Health’s Flora-Key probiotic for extra sweetness.

What To Do When You Can’t Bring Your Own Food

Holiday festivities don’t always allow for us to bring our own food without sticking out like a sore thumb or offending the host. This is especially true with catered work parties and other formal events. In this case, the best defense is a good offense – plan ahead. Before you go, drink a protein shake full of essential nutrients and healthy fats so you aren’t arriving hungry. Previously tempting food are much less enticing when you already feel full, and small bites of overindulgent favorites feel like more than enough to quell those cravings.

If you must partake, make sure you eat a full meal with plenty of healthy fats and protein first. Choose complex carbs like pumpkin or squash pie so your blood sugar doesn’t react so sharply. Sugary foods, especially when you’ve been away from them for a while, tend to cause a sharp rise in blood sugar, followed by a crash. After the crash is when the cravings hit hard. Preventing cravings is much easier than fighting them, especially during festive celebrations.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Angela Lewis

    You’ve really upgraded some of my holiday favorites! I appreciate your suggestions for eating on the road too.

  2. Bonnie Kirk

    I can’t wait to make the brownies! Such a family favorite and I want to make this healthier version.



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