How to bake healthier cookies

Cookies are a heartwarming treat for the holiday season, but they can lead to seasonal weight gain if you overindulge. If you have a serious sweet tooth, you can still satisfy your cookie cravings without the guilt. Just use these tips for preparing healthier cookies.

Substitute Part or All of The Butter

Butter adds a lot of the fat and calories in a cookie recipe. Try substituting canola oil instead. Use about 1/4 less oil than the amount of butter the recipe calls for. Applesauce, pureed pumpkin, or pureed prunes can also replace about 1/2 of the butter in a recipe and help maintain a moist, chewy texture. You can even test substituting crystallized ginger for part of the butter.

Use Whole-Wheat Flour or Rolled Oats

Add fiber to your cookie recipe by substituting whole-wheat flour for part or all of the white flour. Rolled oats can also stand in for flour and will add a nice texture to your batter. Some bakers prefer to add almond meal to cookie batter for an added protein kick. Throw in some ground flax seeds and reap the rewards of those healthy omega-3s.

Limit Sugar and Sodium

You don’t always need to use the total amounts of sugar and salt called for in a recipe. Try cutting back to 2/3 of the total sugar and reducing the salt to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon at the most. You won’t miss the extra sugar and sodium. Cinnamon and vanilla extract are also healthy alternatives to add flavor to a cookie recipe.

With these healthy baking tips, your whole family can enjoy the smell and taste of freshly baked cookies without packing on any extra pounds.

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