Ask Shelley Case: Sweet Holiday Gluten-Free Treats… with a Healthy Twist!

Since being on the gluten-free diet, I have been careful about trying to eat more nutritious. Do you have any ideas on making gluten-free desserts more nutritionally sound? The Holidays are coming soon… help!

The holidays are here and it is the perfect time to enjoy festivities, fun and food with family & friends! This is also the time of year that we tend to eat more sweets and desserts.

Thankfully for those on a gluten-free diet, there are plenty of recipes for brownies, cookies,  cakes,  muffins, and sweet breads in cookbooks and on the web that are made with nutritious gluten-free flours, grains, nuts and even beans.

Here are a few of my tips on making your holiday desserts healthier without sacrificing taste…Enjoy!

Get fruity: Some of my favorite gluten-free dessert recipes that include fruits:
Baked Apples with Raisins and Goat Cheese
Fruit Pudding

Figs & Pears in Honey

Use your bean: Believe it or not, black beans, as well as other pulses (aka legumes) make the most moist, chewy and delicious gluten-free brownies as well as other sweet treats! Pulses include all types of dried peas & beans, lentils and chickpeas.  Frequently overlooked, pulses are one of the most nutritious and versatile foods. They are high in fiber, protein, B vitamins (especially folate), and a variety of minerals-plus they are low in fat and sodium. Talk about sneaking good health into a dessert that everyone will love. You have to try these recipes to believe how good these sweets are!
Black Bean Brownies with Espresso Granache
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Apple Crisp

Peanut butter favorites: If peanut allergies are not an issue, peanut butter is high in protein and loved by “kids” of all ages. These Peanut Butter cookies are made with only three ingredients. Perfect for when the cupboards are bare and cookies are needed in a jiff!
Peanut Butter Quickie Cookies

Oats for good health:
Pure, uncontaminated gluten-free oats are a perfect ingredient for making cookies and cakes for the holidays. If you can’t find gluten-free oats in your local market, you can find them on-line from Cream Hill Estates.
Apple Cranberry Crisp
Fruit Flan
Oatmeal-Berry Bars

Go Nuts:
Try using ground almonds or almond flour, in your baked goods when nut allergies are not a concern. This sweet flour alternative is perfect for desserts and is very nutritious and high in fiber, protein, and other nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. For more on baking with almonds check out my past blog post, Using Almonds in Gluten-Free Baking & Cooking – A Healthy Addition. Try this moist and fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe from Carol Fenster… you won’t be disappointed!

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case, RD is a Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

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2 Responses to “Ask Shelley Case: Sweet Holiday Gluten-Free Treats… with a Healthy Twist!”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    Also, replace oils with apple sauce, pumpkin puree, mashed bananas, or other pureed fruit. Add flax and or chia seeds. Use coconut oil in stead of regular oil, if you must use oil.

    My 3-year-old son had severe eczema until he was diagnosed with food allergies a few months back. I have a blog that shares our family’s battles with eczema, allergies, and asthma (yes, lucky guy has that too).

    I think the key is to learn from one another, so the more information out there to the masses, the better. With this in mind I’ve started a blog hop for anyone dealing with allergies, eczema, or asthma, either for themselves or as a caregiver. If you’re interested in joining, please add a comment. I’d love to welcome you to the group.


  2. Melissa Says:

    My little guy has food allergies too (eggs and pork) and asthma. It’s common when eczema and kids mix that asthma pops up. So is an IGA difficency making a blood test for Celiac not appropriate.

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