Healthy Neighborhood Holiday Treats

Studio 5 Registered Dietitian Melanie Douglass shares some recipes for traditional Christmas goodies, but without some of the traditional fat and calories.

Light Fudge

8 oz. light cream cheese

1/8 tsp. salt

½ tsp. vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese then and add salt, vanilla and powdered sugar. Melt chocolate and slowly stir into the cream cheese mixture. From here you can go two ways:

Option 1: Place the mixing bowl in the fridge for 30 – 45 minutes until firm enough to roll into a soft ball. Roll into 1-inch balls and then roll in crushed chocolate wafer cookies, chopped nuts, coconut, or my favorite: crushed mint grasshopper cookies (use 2 “100-calorie” packets).

Option 2: line an 8×8 pan with foil and spread the fudge into the pan. Top with whole almonds (one per 1-inch square) and refrigerate about an hour, or until firm.

Makes ~45 pieces. 70 calories, 2 grams fat per piece.

Sugar Cookies

1.5 sticks trans-fat free, butter flavor Crisco

1.33 cups sugar

1 tsp salt

4 cups flour

1 cup milk with 1 heaping tsp. baking powder

2 well beaten eggs

Cream Crisco and sugar together. Add salt and eggs. Then add flour and milk/soda. You can immediately roll the dough, but it will be sticky so you’ll have to add more flour as you roll — or you can refrigerate the dough a few hours and roll it cold for super-soft cookies.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. They may not look done, but take them out anyway!


1 (2-pound) bag powdered sugar

1 spoonful canola harvest (canola-based soft tub spread)

¼ – ½ cup hot water

Add hot water to butter (I start with ¼ cup and add more water as needed), then mix in powdered sugar.

Makes 85 cookies. 100 calories, 3 grams fat per cookie.

Surprisingly Delicious Lowfat Cupcakes (with Bean Puree)

It sounds odd, but bean puree is an AMAZING fat replacer. It works great it cakes, breads, and some cookies… and you can’t tell a difference. I mean it, I’ve tried applesauce, prune puree, etc… but nothing works like bean puree.

Use bean puree on a 1-to-1 basis. If recipe calls for 1 cup of oil/butter, use 1 cup bean puree. To make bean puree:

1. Drain and rinse canned white or great northern beans, then puree and refrigerate for future use.

2. Use dry bean and follow the directions on the package for cooking. Once the beans are cooked, drained and rinsed, simply puree in blender.

Here’s the hard part ☺

To make lowfat cupcakes, simply use a cake mix and replace the oil with the bean puree. Ta-da.

110 calories, 3 grams fat per cupcake (with frosting) (1/2 the fat of regular cupcakes with frosting)

Christmas Cranberry Salad

1 (12-oz) bag raw cranberries

2 medium oranges

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup Splenda

8 oz. can crushed pineapple

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 ½ cup light cool whip

½ bag mini marshmallows (optional)

Chop the cranberries, peel and dice the oranges and then mix the cranberries, oranges, pineapple, sugar, and walnuts together. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stir in cool whip and marshmallows before serving.

110 calories, 4 grams fat, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein per serving.

Melanie’s Marvelous No Bake Cookies

1/2 cup canola harvest

1.5 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

3 Tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. salt

Melt together and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 ½ minutes, then remove from heat.

Stir in:

½ t. vanilla

3/4 cup peanut butter


4 cups oats

Drop onto waxed paper, foil, or into muffin cups and let cool.

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