You might think that cookies are out of the question when you’re on a diet, but there are actually plenty of ways to make your cookies healthier! All it takes is making a few substitutions for a healthy cookie you won’t feel guilty about eating. Use any (or all) of these ways to make your cookies healthier the next time you bake. You’ll still get all the flavor without the excess sugar and fat!
1. Use Whole Wheat Flour
Using whole grain or whole wheat flour is one of the easiest ways to make your cookies healthier. Whole wheat flour provides much more fiber than refined or all-purpose flour. This means your blood sugar won’t rise as much after enjoying a sweet treat. Since you can’t use whole wheat flour entirely in a recipe (trust me, it’ll turn out gross), try substituting as much as half of the flour in your recipe with whole wheat flour.
2. Replace Eggs with Applesauce
Are you baking for someone with heart, blood pressure, or cholesterol issues? Or perhaps someone with an egg allergy? Applesauce is a perfect substitute for eggs when baking cookies, or even brownies and cakes. It’s also a great choice for those who choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Replace each egg with ¼ to ½ cup of applesauce.
3. Swap Refined White Sugar for Coconut Sugar
Many of you know about the adverse effects of white sugar—even when consumed moderately. Try looking for alternatives to white sugar that won’t cause a huge spike in your blood sugar levels. My personal favorite is coconut sugar. It’s still sweet and delectable but much more natural and far less refined.
4. Incorporate Raw Honey or Agave Nectar
Don’t be afraid of eliminating sugar altogether! Substitutes like raw honey, agave nectar, or even all natural maple syrup are all completely viable options instead of white sugar. A little goes a long way, and you might find yourself using fewer sweeteners as time goes on.
5. Add Nuts for Crunch and Healthy Fat
Cookies are a great sweet to sneak in all sorts of healthy ingredients. Dried fruit and nuts are great for added fiber. Nuts specifically add a healthy dose of fat. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Try walnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds and also unconventional nuts and seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, and even pieces of raw cacao nuts (yes everyone, chocolate is technically a nut).
6. Substitute Carob for Chocolate
For vegans and vegetarians, sometimes it’s hard to find chocolate chips that are dairy-free but also sweet and have an awesome melt factor. Carob is a fantastic alternative for healthier cookies. Carob melts almost just like chocolate, making it great for chocolate chip cookies. You won’t even notice the difference!
7. Add Fruits to the Batter
Cookies, brownies, and other baked goods are a perfect place to add fruit. Besides helping you cut the sugar content of your cookie, fruits like banana add plenty of fiber, creating a denser and moister cookie. With certain recipes, the fruit is almost undetectable!
8. Include Oatmeal for Fiber
Who doesn’t love a rich and fulfilling oatmeal raisin cookie? Remember that you can use oatmeal in a variety of recipes to add fiber, which could make you less inclined to reach for that second cookie. Rolled oats can also be blended in a high speed blender to create oat flour that can be substituted for white flour.
9. Opt for Pumpkin Instead of Butter
One of the best kept secrets in baking is using canned pumpkin instead of butter. You can substitute up to half the butter content of a recipe with pumpkin. Make sure you buy canned natural pumpkin—NOT pumpkin pie filling. Because ultimately, who wouldn’t love a chewy and rich pumpkin flavored cookie?
Making your cookies healthier doesn’t require five-star baking skills or knowledge of complicated baking ratios. Swapping ingredients is one of the easiest ways to make and enjoy a healthy treat. What are some of your healthy baking tips and tricks?