Do you ever wish there were healthy Christmas cookies? I don’t know about you, but Christmas time is pretty much cookie time! I’m a total cookie monster and all those delicious varieties of cookies can add up to a lot of sugar and calories. So how do you enjoy your cookies and eat healthier, too?
The obvious idea is to eat fewer cookies. But that isn’t always practical, am I right? Another idea is to make healthy Christmas cookies. So, here are some ideas to make the cookies that you bake healthier, whether they become gluten-free, low-carb, or lower in fat and calories.
Healthy Christmas Cookies Idea #1: Switch to Dark Chocolate
Quite a few Christmas cookies contain chocolate, but that doesn’t mean you need to do without these yummy cookies when you are trying to be healthier. A better way to make healthy Christmas cookies with chocolate is to make the switch to dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate has slightly less fat and calories than milk chocolate. But more important, dark chocolate is good for you. It is filled with antioxidants, and sometimes even doctor-recommended. Add dark chocolate chips to your favorite Christmas cookies to make them a little healthier.
Healthy Christmas Cookies Idea #2: Roll Flatter Sugar Cookie Dough
A super easy way to cut the overall fat and calories per cookie with traditional sugar cut-out cookies is to roll the dough flatter. You are going to reduce the portion sizes but still, have some amazing sugar cookies. It is a simple way to get some cookies that will cut the nutritional facts in half, but by using the exact same sugar recipe your family is used to. It also lets you have more dough to make even more cookies than you are used to making. Of course, this doesn’t give you license to eat more of them. That will defeat your point!
Healthy Christmas Cookies Idea #3: Use Healthy Oils
Another thing that Christmas cookies often have in common is using a lot of fats, such as butter. However, you can easily make them heart healthy by cutting out those fats and instead switching to healthier oils.
Get rid of all the butter, shortening, and vegetable oil in the recipe, and opt for coconut oil or olive oil instead. There are even some substitutions that allow you to use pureed fruit to replace the fats and make them even healthier.
Tips for replacing butter for healthier oils:
- Coconut oil — This is pretty much an even exchange, just be sure the coconut oil is the same consistency as the recipe needed for the butter. Cookies made with coconut oil tend to be crunchier.
- Olive oil — For every Tablespoon of melted butter, use 2-1/2 teaspoons of olive oil. Remember to use a milder flavored oil and don’t try substituting in recipes that require you to cream the butter and sugar. Coconut oil would be a better option in that case.
Healthy Christmas Cookies Idea #4: Try Adding Some Dates
If you feel that your holiday cookies need to be sweeter, but you want to reduce the amount of sugar being used, you can replace the sweetness with dates. Dates are a type of fruit that tastes a bit nutty, but in general, has a mild flavor. They contain a lot of sweetness, so when you puree them and add them to your cookie recipes, it makes a big difference without adding to the fat or calories of the cookies recipes.
Healthy Christmas Cookies Idea #5: Increase the fiber
If your recipe calls for all-purpose flour, you can replace up to half of it with whole wheat flour. The resulting cookie may have a courser texture and then there may be less volume of dough, but you’ll increase the fiber of the cookie. Other ways to increase the fiber in your cookies include:
- Add flaxseed meal to the dry ingredients. A single tablespoon can add 3 grams of fiber to your recipe.
- Add ground high-fiber cereals to your recipes, such as oats, wheat germ, and wheat bran.
- For moister cookies, replace some of the fat with applesauce.
- Add grated apples or zucchini
- Add nuts or seeds. In addition to increasing the fiber, they add texture and crunch.
- Replace some of the fat with pureed beans, such as garbanzos or white beans
Take Charge of Your Health!
Changing your eating habits can be tough. But it doesn’t have to be if you take a little time to think it out and create a plan.
This Healthy Eating Worksheet will walk you through the process of creating a healthy eating plan. All you need to do is print it out, set aside some time to complete it, and then fill it out. Then you can create your plan, knowing that you have addressed potential obstacles and came up with some creative ways to handle them.