Healthy Susquehanna: Classic holiday recipes with a healthy spin | Food

This holiday season, Healthy Susquehanna will be sharing recipes for healthy gluten-free treats, holiday cookie classics, and alternatives to sweet treats, among other creations. The list will grow, but here are some ideas to start you off!

Reindeer PB&J

Holiday treats don’t have to be loaded with sugar. Weis Markets has peanut butter on sale for $3.37 for these easy snacks that are full of protein and a hit with the kids!


  • Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out a heart shape from the center of 8 slices of whole wheat bread.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on each of 4 hearts.
  • On the 4 hearts with peanut butter, arrange 2 pretzels sticking off the top of each heart to look like antlers.
  • Place a plain piece of “heart” bread on top to make a sandwich.
  • Top each sandwich with 2 plain M&M’s for the “eyes” and 1 peanut M&M for the “nose.”

reindeer pb&j.jpeg

Hot Cocoa 

Make this this low calorie, delicious hot cocoa drink to celebrate the winter holidays! 


  • In a small saucepan, heat 2 cups skim milk over low heat until just bubbling, stirring frequently. Do not boil.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and 1/8 tsp salt. Sugar is on sale this week at Weis Markets.
  • Stir to combine and serve immediately.

cocoa image.jpeg

Gluten-free Snickerdoodles

Made with almond flour and coconut flour, these gluten free cookies are a delicious treat. These healthy snickerdoodles are a gluten free dessert that everyone can enjoy.


  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1 tsp coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp sugar


  • Melt coconut oil on low power in the microwave or in saucepan on low heat. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, egg, brown sugar, coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the cardamom, nutmeg and salt. Stir well to combine. Add baking soda and stir well.
  • Chill dough, covered with plastic wrap, in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • On a small plate, combine sugar and the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and roll tablespoonfuls into 1-inch balls. Roll cookie dough balls in cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat completely and place on baking sheet. Do not flatten.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Almond Snow Cookies

These festive almond cookies are a great addition to your holiday cookie tray. Almonds and whole wheat flour add some fiber and protein to these easy treats.


  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 tsp almond extract

  • 1 cup blanched almonds, finely ground

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar


  • In a bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer. Mix in the sugars, eggs and almond extract. With a spoon, stir in the almonds and flours.
  • Refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, bring to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 375°. In a shallow bowl, place confectioner’s sugar. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll balls in sugar to coat evenly. Arrange balls on a baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
  • Presentation tip: Press a sliver of almond into top of dough ball before baking to create a professional look.

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