11/15/2012 03:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Healthy Holiday Recipes for Kids (and Adults) Who Love Sugar

Holiday season is upon us. Sugar season is here!
Instead of over-indulging from Halloween through January 1st, I've committed to a "Sugar Free 'till Thanksgiving" challenge.

It's my way of protecting my health, while still enjoying the celebrations with family and friends. Basically, my Facebook tribe and I have declared to the world that we're avoiding all added sugars until Thanksgiving. No big deal.

But here's the problem.

My son and I crave sugar. We love it. Now, I don't drink daily 32 ounces of soda like back in college, but I was getting in the habit of chomping through a bar of dark chocolate every few days.

So I've come up with some easy, sugar-free sweet recipes that both my son and I love. These recipes are great if you're diabetic, have hormonal imbalances, know you're addicted to sugar and want to give yourself a break, or have an underlying candida overgrowth and know that you need to avoid refined sugars.


Our favorite sweet vegetable is sweet potatoes, or yams. Laken, my six-year-old, helped me to wrap a few sweet Red Garnet (Jewel is another good variety) sweet potatoes in foil. After an hour at 400 F they were perfectly mushy and cooked through, so I removed them from the oven to cool.


Together we peeled the skins off easily with a pairing knife and placed all the flesh in my food processor. Since Red Garnets are so sweet on their own, you don't need to add any sugars.


If you want to make this recipe for yourself or your family as a less sugary dessert, you can add a scant tablespoon of pure maple syrup, as directed.


After 10 seconds in the food processor, a good scraping, and another 10 seconds of whirring, a rich, golden orange pudding emerged.


My son and I love this recipe -- it's easy, naturally sweet, and pretty darned healthy. He calls it "dessert," I call is sweet salvation.

Sweet Potato Pudding

2 baked sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional spices: pinch powdered ginger or freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch salt

  1. Combine all in a food processor and process until completely smooth.
  2. Kids can help by pushing down the button, scraping the sides with a spatula, scooping out the pudding into bowls, etc.
  3. Scoop the pudding out with an ice cream scooper, rubber spatula or spoon.

Serves 2