National Cookie Month: Trick or Treat?

Let’s face it, we all love cookies! And to prove the point, October is actually National Cookie Month! A whole month designed to celebrate the good ole cookie! And, while we all want to make our sweet treats better for us, we still want them to taste good. Afterall, a treat isn’t really a treat if it isn’t delicious!

So, if you’re looking for a way to make your cookie a bit more nutritious without being tricked to eat something you don’t really like, try these 5 cookie twists:

  1. Change the flour: Most cookies are made with enriched flour which is a more processed flour that’s typically lower in fiber. Try using 100% whole wheat flour or oat flour for your cookie base. It will pack nutrients and fiber into your delicious treat!
  2. Add some fruit: Try mixing dried fruit into your favorite cookie mixture. Dried cherries or cranberries go nicely with a dark chocolate chip. Raisins are a great add into oatmeal cookies, and you can even use things like dried apple and banana pieces if making a no bake cookie. And if you want a pop of fresh fruit for natural sweetness, slice Medjool dates into walnut oatmeal cookies or puree them and use as the “glue” for energy bite cookies! Fruit adds nutrients and fiber, along with a dash of color to your bite sized treat!
  3. Use better-for-you sweeteners: Try using natural apple sauce as a sweetener in your cookie recipe. Often it can sub for oil or butter in a recipe. Honey can be a great way to sweeten up cookies as well. Remember these are still sugar, but ingredients like apple sauce also provides vitamins and minerals.  Even sweet potato and pureed Medjool dates can be used to naturally sweeten a recipe.
  4. Add nut butter: Nut butters like peanut, almond, and cashew are a great way to add healthy fat and a little protein to your cookie. They also provide natural sweetness ideally allowing for less sugar in the recipe. You can also sprinkle chopped nuts into almost any cookie to add the same healthy fat nutrient punch!
  5. Add protein: In many baked good recipes you can swap out some of the flour (typically half) for unflavored whey protein powder to add a pop of protein to what is naturally a very low (if any) protein food. Research the recipe as every recipe is different, and be sure not to swap every ingredient or you may not get a cookie, but some swaps can make a more nutrient-rich dessert. Pair that cookie with a glass of low-fat milk or Greek yogurt for a protein-rich snack.