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The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and indulgence. It doesn’t have to mean compromising your health or your waistline. You can still enjoy the festive flavors and aromas of holiday cookies without loading up on sugar, butter, or refined flour. In fact, you can make your cookies even more nutritious and satisfying by adding wholesome ingredients like nuts, seeds, oats, dried fruits, spices, and dark chocolate. These ingredients not only add texture, flavor, and color to your cookies, but also provide fiber, protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins that can boost your immune system, lower your cholesterol, and regulate your blood sugar.
To help you get started, here are some tips and tricks for baking healthy and delicious holiday cookies.
Go For Natural Sweeteners
Instead of using white or brown sugar, try using natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, or date paste. These sweeteners have a lower glycemic index than sugar, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar as much. They also have more nutrients and flavor than sugar, so you can use less of them. You can also use ripe bananas, applesauce, or pumpkin puree to add natural sweetness and moisture to your cookies.
Swap Out the Butter
Butter is high in saturated fat and calories, which can increase your risk of heart disease and weight gain. You can replace some or all of the butter in your cookie recipes with healthier alternatives like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nut butter, or Greek yogurt. These substitutes have more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can lower your cholesterol and inflammation. They also add creaminess and richness to your cookies, without compromising the texture or taste.
Use Whole Wheat or Gluten-Free Flour
White flour is refined and stripped of its bran and germ, which contain most of the fiber, protein, and minerals in wheat. This makes white flour more easily digestible and more likely to raise your blood sugar. You can use whole wheat flour instead, which has more nutrients and fiber than white flour. You can also use gluten-free flours like almond flour, oat flour, coconut flour, or buckwheat flour, which are naturally grain-free and high in protein and healthy fats. These flours can also add more flavor and texture to your cookies, making them more satisfying and filling.
Try Some Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great way to add crunch, flavor, and nutrition to your cookies. They are rich in protein, healthy fats, fiber, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, and selenium, which can support your immune system, metabolism, and brain function. You can use any nuts or seeds you like, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or chia seeds. You can chop them, toast them, or blend them into a flour or butter. You can also use nut or seed butters like peanut butter, almond butter, or tahini to add creaminess and richness to your cookies.
Add Some Dried Fruits
Dried fruits are a natural way to add sweetness, chewiness, and color to your cookies. They are also high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, which can protect your cells from damage, fight infections, and improve your vision. You can use any dried fruits you like, such as raisins, cranberries, cherries, apricots, dates, figs, or prunes. You can chop them, soak them, or puree them. You can also use fresh fruits like apples, pears, or berries, but make sure to adjust the liquid and flour ratios in your recipes accordingly.
Choose Some Spices
Spices are not only a way to add flavor and aroma to your cookies, but also a way to add health benefits. Spices have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, which can help you fight off colds and infections. They can also stimulate your digestion, circulation, and metabolism, which can help you burn more calories and fat. You can use any spices you like, such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, or vanilla. You can also use spice blends like pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, or chai spice to create festive and cozy flavors.
Indulge in Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a delicious and decadent way to add some indulgence to your cookies. But it’s not just a guilty pleasure. Dark chocolate is also a superfood that can improve your mood, lower your blood pressure, and protect your heart. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can prevent oxidative stress and inflammation in your body. Dark chocolate also contains magnesium, iron, and copper, which are essential minerals for your nervous system, blood, and bones. You can use dark chocolate chips, chunks, or shavings in your cookies, or you can melt it and drizzle it over your cookies. Just make sure to use dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content, which has more flavonoids and less sugar than milk or white chocolate.
Healthy Cookie Recipes to Try This Season
Now that you know how to bake healthy and delicious holiday cookies, here are some recipes that you can try:
Make a Smart Food Scale Your Baking Partner
Looking for a device that can help you make healthy holiday cookies by providing you with accurate and comprehensive information about the nutritional value of your ingredients and recipes? The RENPHO Smart Food Scale 2 help you measure and control your portions, track your daily intake, and improve your diet for better health.
The Smart Food Scale 2 works with the Gennec App, which has a database of over 300,000 foods and 10,000 recipes. You can use the app to scan the barcode of any packaged food, search for any food item, or create your own custom food entry. The app will then display the calories, macronutrients, micronutrients, and allergens of the food on your smartphone. You can also use the app to log your meals, set your goals, and monitor your progress.
@renpho Prepare a low-calorie brownie using RENPHO Food Scale! 💖#caloriedeficit #caloriecounting #foodscaletips #fyp ♬ original sound - RENPHO
To use the Smart Food Scale 2 to make healthy holiday cookies, you can follow these steps:
- Turn on the scale and connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth.
- Place a bowl or a plate on the scale and press the TARE button to zero out the weight of the container.
- Add the first ingredient to the container and scan its barcode or search for it on the app. The app will show you the weight and the nutrition facts of the ingredient. You can adjust the amount of the ingredient according to your recipe or preference.
- Repeat the same process for the rest of the ingredients, adding them one by one to the container. The app will automatically calculate the total weight and the nutrition facts of the mixture. You can also save the mixture as a custom recipe for future use.
- Bake the cookies according to your recipe and enjoy them. The app will tell you the calories and the nutrients of each cookie based on the weight and the number of servings. You can also log the cookies as part of your daily intake and track your calories and nutrients over time.
By using the RENPHO Smart Food Scale 2, you can make healthy holiday cookies that are delicious and nutritious. You can also experiment with different ingredients, flavors, and shapes to create your own unique and festive cookies.
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