By Jessica Linnell, Asst. Professor (Practice), Family & Community Health, Oregon State University Extension Service

The holidays are when we gather to prepare and eat delicious foods with our families.  However, eating healthfully during this time can feel like a monumental challenge.  People often complain that eating healthfully during the holidays means having to avoid tasty treats and family traditions.  Instead of thinking of this as a problem of “this or that”, why not do both?  You can eat healthy while enjoying delicious family recipes, and here are a few tips.  When planning celebration meals, update the family recipes with nutrient-dense foods like fruits, veggies, and nuts.   Give your green beans a boost with almonds, or replace mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes.  Do you love holiday cookies?  Try this recipe that is packed with delicious and nutritious carrots, applesauce, and raisins, as well as the comforting holiday spices like vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Recipe: Carrot Cake Cookies

Recipe Source:

Number of servings: 48 cookies

Time for preparation (including preparation and cooking): 35 minutes

1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar

1⁄2 cup sugar

1⁄2 cup oil

1⁄2 cup applesauce or fruit puree

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (raw)

1 1⁄2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)

1 cup raisins or golden raisins



  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, mix sugars, oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla thoroughly.
  • In a separate bowl, stir dry ingredients together.
  • Blend dry ingredients into wet mixture. Stir in raisins and carrots.
  • Drop by the teaspoonful on greased baking sheet.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Store in airtight container.




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