My Favorite Healthy Treats for the Holidays
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

December 15, 2021

My Favorite Healthy Treats for the Holidays

Holiday cheer is in the air! I feel it all the way up here in Northern Idaho. And I truly hope you feel it wherever you are.

After years like 2020 and 2021, it’s tempting to fall back on comfort foods and treats prepared like we remember when we were children. So my message today is that comforting food can be healthy. I’ve taken up a few holiday favorites and transformed them to become the best versions of themselves.

Now, I wouldn’t throw total caution to the wind. But, it is possible, and rather easy to make some holiday upgrades to your favorite dishes and still enjoy memory making moments with delicious food and beverages. But first, let’s tackle another challenge that tends to get in the way…

Putting a Lid on Cravings

Whenever I am tempted to cheat (and I cheat all the time by eating healthy treats like the ones below), I always have Y-C Cleanse by my side. Why? Because I rely on it as a “craving stopper” in a bottle.

Sugar cravings are one of the top signs of Candida yeast overgrowth. And, the more I crave sweets, the more I am aware that I might be dealing with Candida overgrowth, especially this time of year.

Think of Y-C Cleanse as your go-to for cravings control during the holidays and beyond. Y-C Cleanse is a homeopathic formula I helped create over twenty years ago. It works wonders to keep the inner ecology of the GI tract in balance and drastically cuts cravings for sugar and carbs.

Licking Your Sugar Habit

Another important essential to curb your sweet tooth and keep your gut balance on track is to keep Flora-Key (my powdered probiotic formula) on hand. This is especially key during the holidays! Flora-Key provides billions of beneficial bacteria to help restore the delicate balance in your gut that is so easily disrupted with excess sugar intake and the stresses of the season. With its own sweet taste, I love to sprinkle ½ scoop on fresh fruit for a satisfying (and nourishing) holiday snack.

3 Rules to Follow If You Do Indulge…

Regardless, if you do indulge in holiday sweets and treats, here are my dietary rules of the road:

Make sure you eat a full meal with plenty of healthy fats and protein first.
Choose complex carbs like pumpkin 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.
If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, be sure to have Weight Loss Formula on hand. Weight Loss Formula contains chromium and Oregon grape root which both support balanced blood sugar levels and help break the cravings cycle. It works well with Y-C Cleanse.

This time of year can be especially challenging for those of us trying to stay on track when we aren’t able to bring our own food to events and worry about offending our hosts. 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 Body Protein shake with 20 grams of protein, essential nutrients and healthy fats so you aren’t arriving hungry. Previously tempting foods are much less enticing when you already feel full, and small bites of overindulgent favorites feel like more than enough to quell those cravings.

Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite holiday treats that are as tasty as they are healthy.

Festive Holiday Brownies

This healthy holiday recipe replaces regular flour with nutritious zucchini and nut butter and plenty of rich cacao and chocolate. Your family and friends will rave about these for years to come!


  • 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 Nutribullet) (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 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.

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!


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