Traditional Gingerbread (but better!)

All those delectable holiday goodies are every direction you look! It's tough to not want to try everything! Instead of resisting and depriving or just throwing all good intentions to hell and giving into every tempting treat, I suggest choosing your favorites and really savoring them, enjoying every flavor, texture and bite! 

One of my favorite holiday treats just happens to be gingerbread! I love all the spices and molasses flavor. Traditionally, this is one of those breads that is made with pretty processed ingredients, so naturally, I had to see what I could do to upgrade the ingredients. If you do have the option to make some goodies yourself and move along the continuum toward more whole, less processed ingredients without sacrificing flavor & texture, I say why not?! No harm, no foul, and you still get to enjoy that nostalgic treat you've been waiting for all year! 

Now, I'm not suggesting you should blacklist any of your favorite treats because "Oh no! They're made with white sugar!". I don't believe in "good foods" or "bad foods". In fact, here's a great article that aligns with that philosophy very well: Have a read if you're interested in ridding your mind of some restrictive, dietary nonsense. In fact, these are many of the same philosophies I use when coaching my clients. The goal is progress, not perfection. If you haven't seen my other articles, you may not know I'm taking on new clients in January. If you're interested in discovering the healthiest version of you in 2017, read here for more info on my coaching program: 

Okay, now onto the good stuff - the gingerbread!! Some of the healthy swaps I made: 

  • applesauce for vegetable oil - for more vitamins, minerals and less processed fats.
  • spelt and whole wheat flour for all purpose flour - for more fiber and protein.
  • crystalized ginger - for all those anti-inflammatory, immune boosting & disease fighting properties ginger offers.

Traditional Gingerbread (but better!)

Serves 9-16 (depending on how big you cut the slices) 



  • 2/3 cup milk 
  • 3/4 cup molasses 
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 cup diced crystalized ginger (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease an 8×8 pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the first six seven wet ingredients (through egg).
  3. In a separate larger bowl, stir together all remaining ingredients except ginger. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Do not over-stir ingredients. If adding ginger, sprinkle evenly across the top of the batter in the pan. 
  4. Pour into the prepared pan. If adding ginger, sprinkle evenly across the top of the batter in the pan. Bake 25 minutes, or until edges are just pulling away from pan and knife inserted in middle of the pan comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.


  • This bread is particularly delicious topped with a little ice cream or whipped cream for a dessert. I also crumbled up a piece on top of my morning Greek yogurt and was VERY pleased with the result! Enjoy! 
  • You can use all spelt flour or all whole wheat flour instead of the combination of the two.
  • A very special thank you to Ms. Barbara Miller for the very festive serveware!  

What are your favorite healthy holiday treats? Let me know if you want any suggestions to make them just a little bit healthier. If you try this recipe, use #jeannereillyrd and show me your handiwork!

Thanks as always for following me on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook and sharing me with all your friends, family, coworkers and strangers on the street. :) I’m have availability for new clients at the moment, so if you know of anyone or any health-focused companies looking for nutrition coach or consultant, send them my way!