Delicious Low-Fat Holiday Desserts

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During the holidays, a little indulgence is the status quo. But who says the holidays have to compromise your healthy diet?

With these recipes, you can have all the flavor of your favorite holiday desserts, minus the guilt or added fat. Give them a whirl, and enjoy!

Whole-wheat sugar cookies
This year, keep your heart healthy with these whole-wheat sugar cookies topped with a delicious lemony glaze.



  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • ¼ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract


  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions: For cookies, whisk together first 4 ingredients (through baking soda) in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugars together in a separate medium bowl until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, and add the egg white and vanilla and almond extracts, and beat until just combined.

Add flour mixture, and stir until incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 325°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Dust a work surface with flour. Turn out chilled dough directly onto work surface. Roll dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes in dough, and gently transfer them to baking sheets. Bake cookies for 12 minutes or until set but not browned. Remove cookies from oven, and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing, whisk together all the icing ingredients in a large bowl until completely smooth. Mixture should have consistency of a glaze. (If it’s too thin, add a bit more sugar. If it’s too thick, add a few more drops of lemon juice.)

Transfer icing to a pastry bag (or a zip-top plastic bag with a small hole in one of the bottom corners). First, outline the cookie or desired design, then fill it in. Let icing harden before serving. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Buttermilk Pralines
Enjoy a rich holiday treat that won’t do much damage to your diet! With a base of pecans, you’ll get plenty of good fat as well.


  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup whole buttermilk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions: Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Continue cooking over low heat until a candy thermometer reads 234° (about 10 minutes). Stir occasionally. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.

Stir in nuts, butter, and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to lose its shine (about 6 minutes). Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let stand 20 minutes or until set. Note: Store pralines in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Banana pudding
This simple Southern classic is one of our personal favorites around the holidays! Slim up the traditional pudding by using low-fat milk, fat-free sweetened condensed milk and reduced-fat cookies.


  • cup all-purpose flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 ½ cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sliced ripe banana, divided
  • 45 reduced-fat vanilla wafers, divided
  • 4 large egg whites (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 325°. Combine flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milks and yolks; stir well. Cook over medium heat 8 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.

Arrange 1 cup banana slices in bottom of a 2-quart baking dish. Spoon one-third of pudding mixture over banana. Arrange 15 wafers on top of pudding. Repeat layers twice, arranging the last 15 wafers around edge of dish. Push cookies into pudding.

Beat egg whites at high speed of a mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue evenly over pudding, sealing to edge of dish. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until golden. Note: Banana Pudding may be a bit soupy when you first remove it from the oven. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Try out these recipes for your family this holiday season, and let us know what you think!