The Galley

Healthy Holiday Treats

Who says you can’t have a healthy diet that includes treats?

The secret is to use real foods, wholesome ingredients, and watch your sugar.  Sugar comes in all forms, like glucose (simple sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), and lactose (milk sugar) to name a few.  All sugars will cause problems when taken in excess.  These may include obesity, hypoglycemia, mood swings and even immune deficiency.  That’s because sugar supresses our immune system.  Remember this when you feel a cold or flu coming on.

The worst thing we can do when we are sick is consume sugar.  Of course, some sugars are more harmful than others.  Refined white sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are two that we should all stay away from.  High-fructose corn syrup is used commonly in processed foods.  Bake your own sweets to avoid this offender.  Replace white sugar with natural sources like honey, agave nectar, pure maple syrup and stevia.  Stevia is a natural sweetener that is sold in liquid or powder form.  If you are going to use stevia, be sure to use it sparingly.  It is much sweeter than sugar.  Don’t get stevia confused with aspartame, sucralose or other artificial sweeteners.  These are not natural foods and not a healthy alternative.  My personal favorite substitutes are honey and maple syrup.  Here are a few of my own holiday recipes.

Peanut Butter Flax Cookies

1/2 cup organic butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1/2 cup natural peanut butter, softened
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup liquid honey
1/2 cup ground natural peanuts
(tip: grind peanuts in a blender, but not for too long or they will become a paste)
2 free-range eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground or whole flaxseed
(tip: grind whole flaxseed with a coffee grinder)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Blend together the butter, coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, honey and peanuts. Add eggs and blend with a mixer.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, flaxseed, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and drop onto a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for about ten minutes.

Makes about 28 cookies.

Carrot Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup organic butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup liquid honey
1 free-range egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 cup oats
1 cup organic carrots, shredded and chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Mix the butter, oil, flour, maple syrup, honey, egg, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat well with a mixer. Add the ground almonds, oats, carrots and raisins. Mix well. Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes approximately 30 cookies.

Peanut Butter Cocoa Balls

½ cup cocoa

½ cup liquid honey

½ cup natural peanut butter (softened)

½ cup sesame seeds

½ cup oats

½ cup ground flaxseed

Shredded coconut

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Form into bite size balls and roll them in coconut.  Makes approximately 20 – 30 balls.


½ cup organic butter (softened)

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 free-range egg

½ cup organic molasses

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ cup freshly grated ginger

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

¾ tsp baking soda

Blend butter and maple syrup.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Add molasses and grated ginger.  Stir until evenly distributed.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients, stirring just until blended.  Separate mixture into two portions and chill for 2 hours before rolling.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one portion to just over 1/8 inch thick.  Cut out desired shape and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until edges are firm.  Decorate with icing sugar when cookies are cool.  Or for a more natural cookie, decorate with nuts and/or seeds before baking.  Be sure to push them into the dough to set.  Enjoy!

Karen Stoyles, RHN

Karen is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, military wife and mother living in Rockland, Ontario.  You may visit her website at for more recipes and information on her services.

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