Baking cookies with your children for Santa is a long-held tradition the night before Christmas Eve. The below recipes are a great way to keep your traditions in place, while teaching your children the importance of healthy choices, sweets or not. My son, although 5, has begun to recognize the importance of eating healthy, and is aware of ingredients that may not be beneficial for him, such as sugar or dairy. You can teach your children, too, through integration of healthy foods. They will become more cognizant of their intake, and you will have helped create a more aware and responsible consumer.
Keep in mind that a lot of the pre-packaged, uncooked baked goods are often filled with preservatives, and added sugar, as well as high in saturated fat. Their refined ingredients are difficult to digest, and beyond the taste, really don’t provide you with much more than temporary satisfaction. With each highlighted ingredient provided, I’ll show that you can incorporate the best of health foods in the typically least healthy of sweet snacks!
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 2 tbsp arrowroot
- 3 tbsp ground flax seeds* soaked in 3 tbsp warm water
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup dates
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp clove
- 2 tbsp molasses
Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl mix ground flax seeds with warm water. Let it sit until the mixture thickens and gels. In a food processor or mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Then add flax mixture, dates, and melted coconut oil and remaining wet ingredients. Sprinkle a cutting board or counter top with almond flour (do not use coconut flour or arrowroot because it will dry out the cookies). Roll out the cookie dough with a rolling pin until it’s flat and even. It should be about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. Use holiday cookie cutter to cut out as many gingerbread cookies as you have room to do. Place the gingerbread cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll the remaining dough into a ball and use the rolling pin to roll it flat again. Cut out more cookies and repeat this process until the dough is gone. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
Image used via agricorner.com
Dates are not only a delicious ingredient to use, they also have a host of health benefits. A few of these revolve around remedying digestive issues, heart problems, anemia, diarrhea, cancer, and sexual dysfunction. This sweet fruit contains calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorous, copper, manganese, and many other healthy vitamins and minerals that you want a lot of in your diet. Dates can revitalize the body easily, and are rich in dietary fiber, which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption, and protects the colon from cancer-causing chemicals.Those who focus on eating healthy tend to incorporate dates into their diet for the wonderful texture they add to any dish.
How to Make Healthy Icing for Your Christmas Cookies
- 2 3/4 cups of xylitol, ground in high speed food processor to a powder
- 2/3 cup of solid palm or coconut oil
Directions: Mix palm/coconut oil with xylitol powder and add coloring.
You can use different vegetables to color your frosting, such as carrots (yellow/orange) or beets (variants of red/pink/purple). It’s helpful if you have a juicer, since you could just use the juice of the fruit/vegetable, but you can also blend and strain foods for their pigment, as well! This is an ingenious way to get the right color, and add sweet, natural flavoring to your holiday cookies!
- Heaping 1/2 cup raw almond butter
- 3 tablespoons raw honey
- 5 drops vanilla liquid stevia
- 1/2 tsp. organic vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 1 Tbs. lucuma powder
- Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
Directions: Add almond butter, raw honey, stevia, vanilla and salt to bowl. Stir until all is mixed, add in powders, and mix again. Stir until lumpy, or throw into food processor. Mold in rectangular contained. Add topping, if so desired. Chill for a half hour and then slice into brownies.
Image used via namakiss.com
I’ve talked a bit about the benefits of raw cacao in one of my previous posts, Dr. Piazza’s Post-Workout Protein Shake Recipe, but this super food deserves an encore for its use in holiday treats. From improving heart function, alleviating stress, to being an aphrodisiac, raw cacao is a euphoria-inducing food that’s long been cherished by ancient cultures. By being high in antioxidants, sulfur, magnesium and essential fatty acids, raw cacao also helps lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer.
Holiday Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup sprouted wheat flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 cup raw almond butter
- 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup raw chocolate nibs
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together sprouted flour, baking soda, Celtic Sea Salt, and cinnamon. Set aside for later. Use a mixer to combine the almond butter and brown sugar. Mix until light and fluffy. Stir in the almond milk and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients, continuing to mix. Stir in the oats, dried cranberries, and chocolate nibs. Roll cookie dough into tablespoon balls and place on baking sheet. Flatten balls down with your hand. Bake cookies until they are browned. Remove and cool for a few minutes before serving.
Image used via simplyscratch.com
Cranberries, even when dried, are great for satisfying a sweet tooth while providing nutrition. Consuming dried cranberries can strengthen your immune system, as well as improve cardiovascular health. Urinary tract infections are better avoided when you consume cranberries, as well, due to preventing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. Their calcium content can prevent tooth decay, and they are filled with antioxidants!
Image used via pbs.org. Recipe from plantbaseddietrecipes.com.
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1/2 cup raw peanut butter
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup dates (pitted)
- 1 vanilla bean (split & scraped)
- splash water or almond milk
- Celtic Sea Salt (optional)
- Add almonds, peanut putter, dates, and vanilla to a food processor and blend until the mixture is dough-like. It may appear to be slightly dry, but it should stick together. If it’s really too dry, add a small splash of water or almond milk and mix it in with your hands.
- Set aside a plate or cookie sheet lined with parchment. Use your hands to form the mixture into small balls.
- After you’ve finished all of the dough, it’s time to make the criss-cross! Press down gently with a fork to create the pattern. Sprinkle with a hint of sea salt, if desired.
Image used via upload.wikipedia.org
Peanut butter has a cult following that has brought it up to par with chocolate. It is a great ingredient for baking, and in moderate portions, good for you. Peanut butter like that made by Jif and Skippy are high in sugar, trans-fat, and emulsifiers like diglycerides. These are added to give the creamy texture associated with peanut butter, but are not true to the natural state of peanuts once they have been crushed. Although it provides an aesthetic product that patrons feel comfortable purchasing, it can be unhealthy for consumption.
My Peanut Butter Cookies use natural peanut butter, which consists of purely the good stuff, like vitamin-E, protein, and heart-healthy, unsaturated fats. This kind of peanut butter doesn’t overwhelm the taste buds, and is a nice snack to make with your children (plus you won’t feel guilty letting them munch on it)!
- 2 cups of raw cashews (soaked, rinsed, drained)
- 1 cup of almond meal
- 3/4 cup of dates (de-pitted)
- Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- 1/4 cup organic syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of cherries (de-pitted)
- 1/2 cup of strawberries
For the crust, blend almond meal and dates together until mixture sticks together. Smush mixture into a 6-8 inch pie dish. For the filling, blend cashews, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla until silky smooth. Scoop filling over crust. Freeze for at least on hour. For the topping, blend cherries and strawberries. Add a little maple syrup to adjust sweetness (optional). Defrost cheesecake in the fridge for 45-60 minutes, until the centre is cold but not frozen. Slice and serve with a hearty drizzle of the fruit topping
Image used via onceuponachef.com
Cashews, a nut found in the Brazilian Cashew Apple, are lower in fat than most nuts. Almost three quarters of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, and consists of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that is great for heart health. These nuts are great for diabetics, too, by helping reduce triglyceride levels. Due to being high in copper, cashews cause great antioxidant defenses and energy production. Copper can also help to support collagen and elastin, which increases flexibility in your bones and joints.