I love cookies.
And believe they can be part of a healthy balanced diet.
But by their very nature they’re never going to be “health food,” especially if you expect them to taste good!
Apples are “health food.” Cookies are sweet treats
I also believe anything baked at home, even if it begins with a box (like these 2-Ingredient Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies) is going to be fresher, better tasting and better for you than the packaged processed stuff lining grocery store shelves. (Just from the time, attention and love that went into baking them.)
Sometimes only the most decadent of cookies is going to satisfy your cravings.
If that’s the case, GO FOR IT. I’m usually more satisfied by a cookie or two made from high quality real ingredients than a whole batch that’s been altered to be “healthier” or “low fat.”
It’s also possible to make “healthier” cookies using more wholesome ingredients. They can taste good too as long as you don’t get carried away.
Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for how to make healthier cookies.
The Skinny on How to Make Healthier Cookies
1. Use whole wheat flour. Replace all our part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. I like either white wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour best. They taste less “wheaty” than regular whole wheat flour and turn out more tender cookies and baked goods. I made these moist delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bars with half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour.
2. Add some oats. I love oatmeal. Oats can add flavor, texture, and nutrition to so many easy cookie recipes, like these yummy banana oatmeal cookies. Try replacing some of the flour in your recipe (maybe 25%) with oats or oat flour made from whizzing your oats in a blender or food processor. (Or just make a batch of oatmeal cookies with white wheat flour for a nourishing two-punch.)
3. Reduce the sugar. Most cookies are really sweet. You can experiment with decreasing the sugar (again by up to 25%) in most recipes without noticing a big difference. You may need to add a little more liquid, such as mil,k to prevent your cookies from being dry. (Sugar attracts moisture so the less sugar, the less moisture your cookies can hold on to.) You can also use a less refined sugar, such as Rapadura, Sucanat, or evaporated cane juice. Using fruit purees for part of the sugar can work well also.
4. Cut the fat. Experiment with using less butter than the recipe calls for. Begin by cutting back by about 25%. You can also replace a portion of the butter with peanut butter, applesauce, mashed bananas, pumpkin puree or another fruit puree that you like. Low Fat Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies and Soft & Chewy Low Fat M&M Cookies are great examples.
5. Replace the eggs. Again, you can use applesauce or a combination of 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons water for each egg.
6. Add healthy ingredients. To bump up the nutritional value of your cookies, use chopped high quality dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips. Add a handful or two of chopped nuts and/or dried fruit. Spices such as cinnamon are good for you too. Check out these pumpkin quinoa cookies filled with wholesome ingredients.
7. Minimize them. Making and eating smaller cookies (like these little button-size peanut butter cookies) is a simple healthier option that often gets overlooked in our super-sized society. It’s the simplest, most effective way I’ve found to satisfy my sweet tooth, health and waistline.
When you read cookie recipes from old cookbooks you’ll find directions for much smaller cookies than found today. Sometimes the easiest ways to get healthy are the simplest!
Links to more “healthier” cookies:
Nikki’s Healthy Cookies Recipe – 101 Cookbooks
Fig & Flax Thumbprint Cookies – Eating Well
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies – Choc Chip Cookie Recipe
Banana Maple Oatmeal Cookies – Fat Free Vegan
Eggless Cookie Recipes – Eggless Cooking
If you liked how to make healthier cookies:
15 Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
Tips for Soft & Chewy Cookies
Low-fat Healthy Pumpkin Cookies & Bars Recipes
Skinny Apple Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies Recipe
Soft Chewy Low Fat M&M Cookies
11 Healthy Breakfast Cookies