Plant-Based Christmas Cookies | Healthy Christmas Cookies for People with Diabetes!

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published December 21, 2021

Everyone deserves to enjoy the Christmas season in their own way, and for anyone living with diabetes, that might seem like it doesn't include indulging in some delicious treats...

But fortunately, you can enjoy Christmas cookies with the best of them thanks to these healthy Christmas cookies that are perfect for those who are following the Mastering Diabetes Method: low-fat, plant-based, and made of primarily whole-food ingredients. Just because you're living with diabetes doesn't mean you don't deserve some sweet treats during the holidays, which is why we put together this guide to plant-based Christmas cookies!

It's Hard to Be Healthy for the Holidays!

We get it, it's hard to be healthy for the holidays. Just think about all of the goodies and temptations you'll be surrounded by:

  • Gingerbread house decorating parties with sugar frosting, candies, chocolate chips...
  • Hearty dinners full of chicken, stuffing, gravy, fatty pies...
  • Christmas cookies galore! Nothing says winter like a plate of gooey Christmas treats
  • And don't forget the eggnog!

Even Harder to Be Plant-Based

And if you just checked the list of all of the ingredients listed above, you won't be surprised to see that it's even harder to be plant-based or vegan.

Powdered sugar and refined sugar and brown sugar, maple syrup, heavy cream, butter, eggs, meats... the holidays are a veritable minefield!

We've recently put together an article detailing how you can take your plant-based Christmas dinner to the next level with dairy-free, meat-free, delicious options that'll make you wish you'd discovered them sooner.

But there's one hurdle that, to many people, seems insurmountable...

The Temptation of Christmas Cookies

Just think of all of the amazing Christmas cookies out there. Classic sugar cookies. Delicious hot cocoa cookies. Chocolate crinkle cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. Gingerbread men and gingerbread cookies.

The holiday cookie tray is a veritable Pandora's box of delicious temptation, just waiting to tempt you as soon as they come out on the baking sheet. And sure, there are always those friends who pull out healthy Christmas cookies during the holiday season, but can anyone really trust healthy cookie recipes? Much less healthy Christmas cookie recipes?

But here's the thing -- you might have to start reconsidering...

There's No Way You Could Make Plant-Based Christmas Cookies... Right?

Well again, we're sure everyone has that friend who's tried to pitch some unexciting 'healthy Christmas cookies' or plant-based Christmas cookies' and then shown up with nothing but a plate full of disappointment.

One of the reasons behind this is that most people have not had enough experience with whole or minimally processed ingredients to make a cookie that is not only super healthy, but also wildly delicious. So delicious that when you bring it to a party you don’t need to mention that it’s plant-based or highly nutrient-dense.

That's why we've taken a moment to reinvent what you think about the cookie with our healthy Christmas cookies. Plant-based Christmas cookies are about to get a total makeover.

Creating the Ultimate Healthy Christmas Cookies

We started our recipe with two major goals. First of all, we wanted to fit the standards of a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet according to the Mastering Diabetes guidelines.

These guidelines are designed to increase your insulin sensitivity and take your nutrition a step further by tailoring the perfect diet to reverse insulin resistance, reduce heart disease, and increase your overall health and longevity. Pretty attractive, right?

Plus, one of the best parts of the Mastering Diabetes guidelines is that they focus on foods that you can eat ad libitum. That means as much as you want. So while you're snacking on these healthy Christmas cookies, you don’t have to think twice about eating too many!

But that wouldn't matter if these healthy Christmas cookies weren't tasty as heck and utterly snackable. So we've put our heads together and come up with a recipe that we're pretty sure will knock your socks off.

Our Ultimate Vegan Christmas Cookie Recipe

Not Just Plant-Based

Thanks to a carefully selected set of ingredients, you can trust these cookies to be perfect for helping you maximize your insulin sensitivity. They are low-fat, plant-based, and delicious!

Equipment Note

The wet ingredients should be blended in a food processor if you've got one. If you don't have a food processor, use a blender instead, or simply mix everything together with a mixing bowl, spoon, and some elbow grease.

Ingredient Tips

If possible, buy your bananas a few days in advance, and wait until they become spotted. When bananas are riper, they’re sweeter and also easier to blend.

If your Medjool dates are a bit dry and firm, soak them in hot water for a few minutes before you make the cookies, so they’ll soften up and incorporate more readily into the batter.

The Recipe!


  • 1 cup Bananas (2 medium ripe (spotted), peeled and mashed)
  • ¼ cup Medjool Dates (3 pitted and softened in hot water, if necessary)
  • 1 tbsp Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups Rolled Oats


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a food processor or large mixing bowl, combine the chopped bananas, pitted (and softened) dates, ground flaxseed, and cinnamon. Blend or stir until the mixture is smooth and wet.
  • If using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the rolled oats to the wet ingredients, and stir until they’re thoroughly mixed.
  • Divide the batter into 8 equal portions, and place them on your prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced. Each portion will be roughly 2 heaping tablespoons.
  • The cookies will not change shape in the oven, so flatten them out and gently shape them into cookies before baking.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies’ edges begin to brown slightly.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the slightly cooled cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Serve and enjoy!

How to Enhance It and Add Your Own Flavor

Not only are these cookies delicious, but they're also a great base if you're feeling festive and want to add a little bit of a festive twist as well!

Add Almond Butter or Peanut Butter

Almond butter and peanut butter are both great additions to these cookies, though it's definitely worth noting that these high-fat, yellow-light options will make these cookies into a bit more of a treat and not an all-day staple.

Still, that little tweak of adding almond butter or peanut butter (or even something like cashew butter) can sometimes be the difference in convincing friends and family to dive in! And it stays vegan, delicious, nutrient-dense and gluten-free.

A Touch of Chocolate

Interestingly enough, chocolate in its more raw forms is actually perfectly fine as part of a Mastering Diabetes diet. The raw form of chocolate, cacao, is actually a fantastic superfood, and as long as you check the ingredients and make sure you're getting a less refined form (like cocoa powder or very dark chocolate), you're in the clear! Also, still gluten-free!

If you’re looking to add a chocolate flavor and wish to stay caffeine free, we recommend using carob powder.

Add a Sprinkle of Peppermint

This is one of our favorite additions to the meal! There's little more that gets the mind racing for Christmas than candy canes and the flavor of peppermint, and when you add a touch of some peppermint extract to turn these into tasty peppermint cookies!

Still tasty, still gluten-free, and in our opinion, still an awesome way to celebrate the holidays (even without those sugar cookies!)

Fruits, Jams, or Zest

And finally, our last recommendation for spicing up your dessert cuisine for the holidays without needing to break out the sugar cookies and chocolate sauce is to add natural fruit flavors, whether that's in the form of raw fruit, jams, or other fun flavors.

Dried cranberries, raspberry jam, orange zest, peach preserves -- as long as they don't add sugars, they're a great treat on top of this Christmas cookie special!

Not the Only Healthy Christmas Treat for the Holiday Season!

And that's not the only treat that we've seen our community come up with as we get into the holiday season! We've definitely seen some ideas for plant-based chocolate bark, gingerbread men and gingerbread cookies, fun Christmas drinks, and Christmas dinner ideas all using the Mastering Diabetes Method to stay fit, healthy, and on track to reversing insulin resistance!

Join and Stay Tuned for Recipes, Guidance, and Tips Throughout the Year

Here at Mastering Diabetes, we know that everyone's journey to reversing insulin resistance and reaching their best health is different, which is why we offer recipes, informative training, and tips throughout the year, along with access to our community of people working to overcome diabetes.

And if you're currently a little bit overwhelmed by living with diabetes, or have a family member who feels the same way, you can reach out to us about private coaching to help you every step along the way!

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About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.