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How can I Make Healthy Cookies?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 02, 2024
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Exactly what are healthy cookies? Just how healthy a cookie is depends on your definition of "healthy." You may be looking for cookies that are lower in sugar, low fat, low cholesterol, or have healthy ingredients. You may not be able to satisfy all these requirements in one cookie, and still maintain the taste you want.

There are a few substitutions you can make to create cookies that are at least healthier , if not healthy, cookies. You’ll want to avoid processed white sugar, white flour, and saturated fats, which will generally change texture of cookies. If you use honey instead sugar for example, you may not get low calorie cookies, but on the other hand, truly healthy cookies may not represent empty calories.

It’s recommended that you use recipes designed for super healthy cookies instead of trying substitutes for regular recipes. A few substitutions you’ll typically find are things like monounsaturated oil for fats like butter or margarine, honey, maple sugar, pureed fruit, raw sugar or fruit sugar for granulated white sugar, and wheat or whole grain flours for white wheat flour. Other substitutions include pureed fruit like applesauce for eggs or fats, and eggs whites for whole eggs.

There are a few healthy cookies like brownies that adapt well to changes. For instance applesauce can substitute for butter or margarine in things like brownies. Since it provides some sweetness, it also reduces the amount of sugar in recipes. You can also find whole-wheat brownies or those made with things like oat flour to reduce overall gluten and starch.

Other recipes combine ingredients like spelt, fruit, eggs, oil and nuts to create soft, almost muffin-like cookies. You’ll find a variety of recipes online that can help you stretch your imagination when it comes to making healthy cookies. When you do use oil, cookies tend to turn out softer and less crispy.

Another recommendation to make healthier cookies is to substitute part wheat flour for white flour and to reduce sugar in standard recipes. You can certainly do this with chocolate chip cookies, where you can add half wheat and half white flour instead of all white flour. Your cookies will still be delicious if you cut the sugar by about 25-50%. There are also some recipes for oatmeal cookies that are made with very little white flour, a small amount of shortening and whole rolled oats. With oats as a primary ingredient, these cookies are going to be healthier.

How you define health will help you decide how to define healthy cookies. With a variety of substitutes available for standard cookie ingredients, you should be able to lower calories, lower fat, reduce cholesterol or cut down on processed flours. It’s usually true that most cookies you can make at home are likely to be healthier than those purchased at the store.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By afterall — On Nov 14, 2010

@stolaf23, I also like flax seed and oatmeal in cookie recipes. They can make almost any variety into easy, healthy cookies. Anything that adds fiber also makes the cookies that much more filling, helping to make them a more legitimate snack.

By stolaf23 — On Nov 14, 2010

When I try to make healthier cookies, I substitute about half the flour with oatmeal, using 1 cup of oatmeal for every 1/2 cup of flour. I also add about 1/4 of a cup of ground flax seed, which does add some calories, but also adds omega-3s, fiber, and other nutrients. I call this recipe my "healthy oatmeal cookies".

By bookworm — On Nov 18, 2009

I agree, by substituting fruit puree for butter for example will yield a moist, flavorful and healthier cookie.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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