Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies?

No, of course there is no such thing as healthy chocolate chip cookies, but at least now I have your attention. If you are interested in personal training or if you already are a health fitness specialist, you undoubtedly recommend moderation to your clients. Keep that in mind as you read this week’s post!

A few years ago, I signed up for a volunteer opportunity with Habitat for Humanity. My schedule would not accommodate hours during the day to work on homes and I have no construction skills to speak of, so imagine how happy I was when I found I could volunteer as a cookie baker!

Cookie bakers are called upon several times throughout the year to bring in 2-4 dozen cookies that Habitat for Humanity will, in turn, bring to the people working on the homes. I imagine you are likely thinking that this is quite a surprising role for the dean of the health fitness specialist program, but it is a fun way for me to help an inspiring organization and it fits in my schedule. And, I get to tweak cookie recipes in an attempt to make them (slightly) healthier.

You’ve all heard me rant about sugar and recommend that we all abandon it entirely. I know, I know. But, I want to make cookies that taste good so I can treat the wonderful people working on these homes. So, how can that be done?

First off, you can choose a cookie that doesn’t contain a great deal of sugar. How about Martha Stewart’s oatmeal raisin cookies? Instead of one cup of white sugar and one cup of light brown sugar, try 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of light brown sugar. Add a cup of shredded coconut in place of the sugar.

This spicy ginger cookie from Epicurious is a favorite and you can reduce the sugar in this recipe to 2/3 of a cup. Use the sanding sugar to coat the top of the cookies to give it a little sweet flavor.

And who doesn’t love shortbread? I would recommend using powdered sugar rather than regular white sugar in Food & Wine’s lemon lavender shortbread recipe. You could also substitute rosemary for lavender to create a beautiful and unique cookie.

Or perhaps you need a gluten-free recipe? Whole Foods Market offers this peanut butter cookie recipe as a solution for you!  Again, you can leave out the chocolate chips, make sure you buy organic peanut butter, and cut the sugar back to 1/2 cup if you want to make it less sweet.

Another tip for making healthy cookies is the butter! Make sure you buy organic butter. Trust me when I say that margarine is evil and low-fat butter alternatives will make you fat.  (Look what happened to our country since the low-fat craze of the 1980s!) Your body needs real, full-fat products.

If you have a healthy cookie recipe you’d like to share, please feel free to do so. I am always looking for new and healthy cookie ideas for my personal trainer friends and the folks at Habitat for Humanity.

Happy baking to you!

Learn more about the Health Fitness Specialist program at Globe University/Minnesota School of Business.