This post is sponsored by Mode Media through Foodie.com. All opinions are my own.
Tis the season for gingerbread and pumpkin and chocolate ERRRTHANG.
No complaints here. The holiday season is a time for celebrating family, making memories, and embracing cookies. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to create seriously sensational cookies and bars without breaking the calorie bank.
Don't get me wrong....there's a time and a place for white flour and white sugar. It even matches the snow! But challenge yourself this holiday season to ditch the fake colors and flavorings and opt for adding fresh mint, avocado, or even spinach for gloriously green cookies. Say no to store-bought frosting, which is literally a jar of sugary trans fat. Making your own with butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract is a much better option!
When it comes to flour, there are lots of little substitutions you can make to healthify your goodies without sacrificing the flavor. Try swapping out half of the white flour for whole grain flour to boost the fiber content and lower the spikes in blood sugar. There are plenty of choices here. One hundred percent whole wheat, spelt, oat, and brown rice flour are all amazing nutrient-dense options. If you do choose to use all-purpose flour, go for the unbleached kind. To give your cookies some gluten-free goodness, try subbing in a fourth of the flour for almond meal. Almond meal is simply ground almonds, which means you'll end up with a more moist end product that's lower in carbohydrates and higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Another foolproof tip is to reduce the sugar by a fourth. I guarantee you won't notice it's gone! Play around with swapping out refined white sugar for lower glycemic coconut sugar, raw honey, or pure maple syrup. These natural sweeteners are less refined than white sugar and therefore retain some of the mineral content. Try adding raisins, bananas, dates or dried cranberries for natural sweetness.
For recipes that call for oil, go for grapeseed, olive oil, or coconut oil. Conventional canola oil and other vegetable oils (AKA soybean oil) are processed with hexane and have a less than ideal omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio, which can lead to disease-causing inflammation in the body over time. Recipes that call for butter can usually be easily veganized by using room temperature coconut oil instead. Unsweetened applesauce can be substituted for up to half of the oil in cookies, bars, brownies, and cakes as well!
Now that's you're secured with a toolkit of tips and tricks, let's get baking!
Check out 16 Humbelievable Holiday Cookies & Bars