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Glutten free is no problem. Try these yummy, healthy treats
Patricia Wilson filled coconut cookies (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Glutten free is no problem. Try these yummy, healthy treats


Writer: PATRICIA WILSON | Photographer:  SARAH A. MILLER | IN Magazine

These days, your home-entertaining guest list is likely to include a mix of eaters who are vegan, paleo, gluten-free, lactose intolerant or have a peanut allergy.

By taking into account the tips below, you can meet the challenge of accommodating the food needs of everyone and still serve delicious and healthy treats.

I’ve updated perennial holiday favorites — eggnog, cranberry, pumpkin and cookies. Relax and enjoy! Your holiday party is your gift to your guests. With these healthy treats, you are giving the enduring gift of empowerment.

cranberry pudding


Consider Health Benefits: Research shows that nearly 65 percent of people are cutting back on lactose, gluten and sugar. Consumers have a high food IQ and are interested in health benefits of foods such as turmeric, coconut milk, bone broth and lactose-free milk.

Limiting indulges to bite-sized servings and mini-tasting parties are a big trend.

Substitute Ingredients: For those who are lactose-intolerant, whole milk substitutes include non-dairy nut, rice, coconut and soy milks. Flavored with chocolate or vanilla, these ingredients are easy to work into desserts.

Instead of using refined sugar in dishes, use maple syrup, honey, stevia, date paste or mashed banana. Fruit spreads also offer concentrated flavor.

Excellent sources of healthy fat, depending on the recipe, are coconut oil, nut butters and even a little mashed avocado. None of these have cholesterol.

For those who need gluten-free food, finding a substitute for wheat flour can be tricky. Some need to skip refined grains completely. Nut flours, such as coconut or almond flour, can work well in baking.

List Ingredients: It is best to keep common allergens, such as shell fish, peanuts or wheat crackers, away from other foods on a buffet.

Use separate serving utensils for each dish to avoid accidental cross-contamination.

Display a menu or label potentially hidden ingredients so guests can make informed choices. Those who do not eat seafood will appreciate knowing if an egg roll is filled with shrimp.

Guests appreciate knowing if meatballs are beef, meatless or gluten-free. Vegan meatballs, which typically are made with textured hydrolyzed vegetable protein (which is gluten) are definitely not gluten-free.


  • 1 cup of unrefined coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cups of coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet with parchment paper. In a glass bowl, mix the ingredients until they become the consistency of thick batter. Roll into little balls and flatten. Place these on the cookie sheet and make a small indentation in each to hold a filling. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Once they cool, top the cookies with a fruit spread, melted chocolate, lemon curd, pumpkin or banana cream. You can use vanilla almond milk instead of coconut cream, just be sure to adjust your liquid so that the batter is not too dry. It makes two dozen cookies.


  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of vanilla almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 packet of stevia

Coconog is the eggless, dairy-free version of this holiday favorite. Put all the ingredients in the blender and give it a quick blend. Turmeric, a functional food, contains iron, fiber, vitamins and magnesium. It is an anti-inflammatory used for pain relief and may also help prevent certain cancers. Refrigerate the nog; serve chilled and freshly blended. Dust with nutmeg, if desired.

Tips: Chia seeds, a super food, contain essential omega fatty acids, protein, fiber and calcium. Because they make a super-simple pudding, I’ve included two recipes (see below). The seeds take on the flavor added to them, so use your imagination. Let the mixture set in the refrigerator overnight to give the seeds time to absorb the liquid and soften. The final result will be a creamy texture, similar to tapioca pudding.Alter the amount of liquid depending on your preference. The more the liquid, the creamier the consistency.



  • Half of a 6 oz. bag of chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups of vanilla almond milk
  • 1 can of organic pumpkin pie mix

In a ceramic bowl, combine half of the bag of chia seeds, milk, and pumpkin. Stir well. Cover, and let the mixture set in the refrigerator overnight. Serve chilled. If you prefer, use canned pumpkin with your own spices and sweeteners.


  • Half of a 6-oz. bag of chia seeds
  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 package of organic whole cranberry sauce

In a ceramic bowl, combine half of the bag of chia seeds, the milk, and the cranberry sauce. Stir well. Cover, and let the mixture set in the refrigerator overnight. Serve chilled. For less sugar, use one jar of your favorite fruit spreads instead of the cranberry sauce.

pumpkin pudding

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