The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it an insatiable appetite for good food, friends and special moments with family. To soften the sugar blow without compromising on deliciousness, here are 3 tasty and healthy treats your kids and families can enjoy with less guilt and added nutrition. Flavored with healing spices sure to please the pickiest of palates, I hope these recipes will add to the love and joy on your family table

1. Spiced Holiday Cookies

The recipe for these cookies is adapted from my German sister-in-law who bakes them by the dozens and ships them overseas every Christmas, much to the delight of her extended family. They are pillowy, nutty and spiced, with just the right amount of sweetness. They are perfect for kids as a snack on the go or dipped in milk and wonderful for adults with a strong cup of coffee.

About 40 cookies

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup coconut (gentler) or brown (sweeter) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 whole cloves freshly ground (or a pinch clove powder)
3 cardamom pods, seeds remove and freshly ground (or two pinches cardamom powder)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup butter cut into small squares
1/3 cup ground hazelnuts
1/2 – 1 tbsp milk (optional)
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)


  1. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Create a hollow in the middle and add the sugar, spices and egg. Spread the butter and hazelnuts around the mixture.
  3. Knead the flour mixture by hand until it comes together into a smooth dough. If necessary, add the milk to help the dough along. 
  4. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and cool in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F.
  5. Shape the dough into balls and flatten by hand to make simple round cookies (which my 4 year old likes to call ‘full moon cookies’). Alternatively, roll out the dough until 1/4 inch thick and cut out cookies with your favorite shapes.
  6.  Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes until slightly crisp on the outside and pillowy on the inside. Dust with confectioner’s sugar for added sweetness if you like.

2. Nutmeg Cashew Chocolate Cranberry Fudge

Inspired by an Indian dessert called ‘cashew/kaju barfi’, this nutty fudge incorporates the holiday’s favorite festive ingredients with no white sugar. It’s so healthy that it could even work as breakfast-on-the go and is perfect in lunchboxes.

12 pieces

2 cups unsalted, roasted cashews
1/4 cup honey
Pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 tsp vanilla powder or extract 
1/4 cup dark or milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tbsp milk (optional)


  1. Blend all the ingredients except the chocolate, cranberries and milk until a smooth mixture forms, pausing to scrape down the sides of the blender and re-blending a few times. If the mixture is too crumbly, add the milk to bring it together into a fudge-like texture.
  2. Pack the mixture into a bread tin until about 3/4 inch thick. Press the chocolate chips and cranberries into the top of the mixture. Freeze for 3-4 hours until set.
  3. Cut into 2X2 inch squares. Store in the freezer. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before enjoying.

3. Pumpkin Pie Popsicles

I’m obsessed with pumpkin pie and with these popsicles, we don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy our favorite dessert in a healthier form. These are also an ideal way to celebrate the holidays in warmer parts of the world where even November is perfect popsicle weather!

6-8 popsicles depending on the size of your molds

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch ground clove
Pinch vanilla powder

Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Pour into your favorite popsicle molds and freeze overnight. Enjoy for a healthy treat or snack.  

About Kanchan

Kanchan Koya, Ph.D. combines her Doctorate in Biomedicine from Harvard University and her training from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to boost the health of families with healing spices. She is the creator of Spice Spice Baby, a global food brand which brings to light the science-based benefits of spices and inspires their use in babies’, kids' and families' foods in simple and delicious ways. Kanchan also works as a Certified Health Coach, helping clients overcome their personal health challenges using food and lifestyle as medicine. For recipes, science of spices, nutrition tips and to be among the first to pre-order Kanchan’s upcoming book with 100 spiced recipes for your family table, visit , and follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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