Recipes & Meal Swaps | Traditional to Healthy: Sugar Cookies 3-Ways

Sprinkled, frosted, drizzled and meticulously cut into festive holiday shapes, the sugar cookie remains a favorite for the holidays! The sugar cookie, as we know it today, found its way to the USA in the 1700s where it has now become a common holiday treat! Our SportPort™ families share this tradition too, but we’ve got a variety of diet preferences here, including those who prefer traditional recipes with calorie dense ingredients, to those who are trying to cut back on calories or fat, and also to some who avoid all animal products, following a vegan diet.

We know that you too may have your own version of healthy, so we’ve shared three of our favorite sugar cookie recipes that range in calorie count from highest to lowest, with nutrition information following each recipe!  Serving size nutrition will vary based on the size of your cookies, each batch makes approximately 36 cookies.

Traditional: Classic Sugar Cookie Recipe

With a full cup of butter and over a cup of sugar, this recipe packs the biggest caloric punch per cookie and has the highest amount of saturated fat (the unhealthy kind), but also gives you that classic sugar cookie taste and texture!

1 cup butter, softened at room temperature

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoon whole milk

3 cup flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk butter until creamy. Add in sugar, eggs and milk stirring until well-mixed. Add in remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350˚. Remove dough from refrigerator and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. If dough is sticky, it may need to be refrigerated longer. To make shapes, roll dough out with a rolling pin until reaching desired thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes before placing shapes on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake each batch 8-10 minutes. If you prefer not to make shapes and would like round cookies, dough can be pinched straight from the bowl and rolled into small balls before placing on cookie sheet to bake.

Nutrition Information (1 Cookie): Calories 116; Fat 5g; Saturated Fat 3g; Carbohydrates 16g; Protein 1g; Fiber 0g

Healthier: Lower Calorie, Less Fat Classic Sugar Cookie Recipe

Using most of the same ingredients as the traditional recipe, we’ve lightened this up with less sugar, butter and eggs for fewer overall calories per cookie, while also replacing the white flour with whole wheat for added nutritional value.

¾ cup butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1 large egg

3 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups whole-wheat flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk butter until creamy. Add in sugar, cream cheese, egg, vanilla and water until well-mixed.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together remaining dry ingredients before adding to the butter mixture, combining until mixed through. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350˚. Remove dough from refrigerator and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. If dough is sticky, it may need to be refrigerated longer. To make shapes, roll dough out with a rolling pin until reaching desired thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes before placing shapes on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake each batch 8-10 minutes. If you prefer not to make shapes and would like round cookies, dough can be pinched straight from the bowl and rolled into small balls before placing on cookie sheet to bake.

Nutrition Information (1 Cookie): Calories 89; Fat 4g; Saturated Fat 3g; Carbohydrates 13g; Protein 2g; Fiber 1g

Healthier:  Plant-Based, Vegan Sugar Cookie Recipe

Using coconut sugar and vegan butter, this recipe offers a traditional recipe taste and texture, but also less calories and saturated fat per cookie. This recipe is vegan-friendly with even a little pumpkin thrown in to act as a binding agent in place of eggs!

1 cup vegan stick butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup coconut sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 2/3 cups whole-wheat flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

4 teaspoon unsweetened almond milk

  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk vegan butter until creamy. Add in sugars, pumpkin and vanilla until well-mixed.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together remaining dry ingredients before adding to the butter mixture, combining until mixed through. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350˚. Remove dough from refrigerator and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. If dough is sticky, it may need to be refrigerated longer. To make shapes, roll dough out with a rolling pin until reaching desired thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes before placing shapes on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake each batch 8-10 minutes. If you prefer not to make shapes and would like round cookies, dough can be pinched straight from the bowl and rolled into small balls before placing on cookie sheet to bake.

Nutrition Information (1 Cookie): Calories 107; Fat 5g; Saturated Fat 1g; Carbohydrates 14g; Protein 1g; Fiber 1g

Light and fluffy or crisp and golden, however your cookies shape up, we hope we’ve offered you a recipe that will please your holiday crowd!