Here is December, which means you could potentially enter a monthlong sugar haze. From holiday parties packed with eggnog and wine to endless platters of Christmas cookies, it’s easy to feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows.
Which also means it’s the perfect time to break out your natural sweeteners and nutrient-rich superfood faves. From date-sweetened pecan pie bars to fudge made with tahini and matcha, these seven recipes go easy on the sugar so that you can truly enjoy digging in—and you can skip the eventual crash. In addition, they’re all easily portable, so you have just the thing to whip up when the next party invite hits your inbox.
1. Raw Pecan Bars
Thanksgiving may be in the rearview, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait another year to enjoy the sweet, nutty flavors of pecan pie. That said, the uber-sweet dessert doesn’t have to be loaded with the addictive white stuff to deliver its beloved flavor, either. Pure Ella blogger Ella Leché sweetens her gluten-free, vegan, and Paleo version with dates and nut butter so that you don’t suffer from a post-dessert crash.
2. Apple Spice Donut Holes
Antioxidant-rich cinnamon and apples support your immune system, which comes in super handy during cold-and-flu-filled winter months. When you think donut holes, “healthy” is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. Kate Gavlick of VeguKate turned her Hostess-lookalike version into a treat that’s as full of flavor as it is nutrients.Bring these to an office holiday party to keep your coworkers happy and healthy this season.
3. Mint Matcha Superfood Fudge
Five ingredients and 10 minutes of hands-on time? This one just jumped to the top of the list. Blissful Basil creator Ashley Melillo packs her recipe with superfoods—beyond matcha, think tahini and cacao butter—so you might as well have a second (or third!) piece.4. Almost Raw Vanilla Nut Tiramisu
Everything is more adorable (read: Instagrammable) when it comes in a jar, and this tiramisu is no exception. Oh, Ladycakes blogger Ashlae Warner uses herbal coffee grounds so you can have your post-dinner dessert and still catch some zzz’s. What else is on the superfood-studded ingredient list? Almonds, oats, dates, cashews, and maple syrup—you may not get a coffee buzz but these are certainly buzz-worthy.5. Spicy Christmas Cookies Dipped in Dark Chocolate
Josephine Malene, the blogger behind A Tasty Love Story finds inspiration from a classic Danish holiday cookie, loading up her dark-chocolate-dipped treats with antioxidant-packed spices—but swapping in coconut sugar and alt-flours for a low-sugar, gluten-free version.6. Vanilla Crescent Cookies
When it comes to holiday cookies, it doesn’t get more traditional than this German classic. But every classic can use an update now and then. Heavenlynn Healthy blogger Lynn Hoefer uses a blend of almond, oat, and buckwheat flour as a base, then adding almond butter, coconut sugar, and chia seeds. Hoefer replaces powdered sugar on top with a mix of shredded coconut, coconut sugar, and ground vanilla, so dusting is a refined-free zone.
7. Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars
Getting a little burned out on chocolate desserts? These gluten-free, vegan treats are a rich and creamy alternative. Totally sans dairy, these fresh citrus treats are from Dana Schultz, aka the Minimalist Baker, who blends cashews, coconut cream, lemon juice and zest, and maple syrup for a cheesecake-like filling that isn’t overly sweet.
Want to keep your holiday vibe going steady all month? This mood-boosting elixir will help you unwind and stay grounded. And if you’re overwhelmed by all the less-than-healthy food that seems ever-present around the holidays, these tips for eating as an act of self-love may come in super handy.