Did you know December 4th is National Cookie Day? Everyone loves cookies, and it can be a great joy to share them with friends and family, especially during the holiday season.
However, if staying healthy is a priority for you, you might hesitate at the thought of consuming so much sugar and saturated fat. Cookies are delicious, but they’re super unhealthy...right?
Not necessarily. There are a few tricks you can use to help to make your cookies much healthier, without compromising on taste. Here are some tips to try on a recipe that you already use and love, to get a health boost without giving up your favorite treats. We’ll also share our favorite healthy cookie recipe at the end!
1. Switch sugars
Most traditional cookie recipes are full of processed white sugar. To give your cookies that delicious sweetness without adding so much sugar, try swapping out some or all of the refined sugar for a more natural alternative.
Coconut sugar, raw honey, agave nectar, or pure maple syrup are all good options. Coconut sugar generally substitutes 1:1 for white sugar, while the other options require using about ½ to ⅔ of the volume (for example, instead of 1 cup of white sugar, use ½ to ⅔ cup of raw honey).
2. Swap out saturated fat
There’s quite a bit of research linking high saturated fat consumption to poor health outcomes, especially heart disease. To help make your cookies a bit healthier, you can try switching out some of the fats. Solid fats (like butter and lard) are saturated, while liquid fats (like oils) are unsaturated; unsaturated fats are generally considered healthier.
If a recipe calls for butter, then getting rid of it completely might not work. You can try switching out half of the butter for oil (for example, canola or avocado oil), or for Greek yogurt (which has a creamy consistency but with lots of protein and not much fat).
3. Try whole grain flour
Most traditional cookie recipes call for processed white flour, which your body basically treats as sugar. In order to make the cookies healthier, you can try substituting in whole grain flour. Like with butter, switching out all of the white flour in a recipe won’t really work out in many cases; the consistency just won’t be quite right. But you can change out up to half in most recipes and most people will barely even notice a difference in taste.
Whole grain flour has more vitamins and minerals, and it won’t spike your blood sugar as much because it has a lot of fiber, which slows down your body’s absorption of the carbs.
4. Add a nutritional boost
Beyond taking out the ingredients that make your cookies unhealthy, you can also add in some extra ingredients for a boost of nutrition.
Ground flaxseeds or chia seeds add in healthy omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory and help to keep your brain, heart, and immune system healthy. You can replace up to 25% of the flour with ground flax or chia seeds, or sprinkle these seeds on top of your cookies for a little extra crunch.
You can also try adding in some chopped nuts – this is another way to add in healthy fats along with protein and vitamins, while also boosting flavor. Almonds, walnuts, or pecans are all great options.
Our favorite healthy cookie recipe for National Cookie Day!
We’d like to share with you our favorite healthy cookie recipe. They’re classic chocolate chip cookies – because who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? And these are so healthy that you’ll feel great eating them!
1⅓ cups oat flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup chocolate chips (you can add more if you’d like)
⅓ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp. oil (vegetable, canola, or avocado oils will all work)
about 4 tbsp. milk, as needed (any type of milk is fine)
Preheat oven to 380 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips, and walnuts together.
Add coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and oil. Mix very well. If dough is too stiff and difficult to mix, stir in about a tablespoon of milk at a time to make it easier to work with. You should end up with a large ball of dough that stays together easily.
Form dough into 1-inch balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Optional: if you’d like your cookies to come out soft, chill the cookie dough balls in the fridge until they’re cold all the way through. If you want crunchier cookies, you can skip this step.
Bake for 9 minutes.
After removing from oven, allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. If the cookies haven’t spread out while in the oven, you can gently press them down with a spoon while they’re still hot.