I love to cook and bake for my friends and family, but I know that they aren't always as stoked about my 99% fat free cookies that are nearly calorie free. I have come to terms with the fact that I think I have more of an acquired taste for these types of foods. Because I know this I will often times make small changes in the food I make for other people; changes that they will never notice, but helps me to be able to sleep at night.
Tonight I made some cookies for my friends. I have a KILLER Oatmeal chocolate chip recipe that I've made a few modifications to in order to health-ify it a little. I am in no way saying that these are basically better than broccoli and should replace the healthy foods in your diet. I'm just saying it's possible to make little changes to some of the foods you love to make them a little better for you. If you are going to eat them or serve them anyways, you may as well do all that you can to make them a little healthier, right? Right.
Healthier Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Makes 36 cookies)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup applesauce (originally this was butter, but I always replace 1/2 with applesauce)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites (this was another whole egg, but I like to replace 1 of the eggs with 2 egg whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (this was originally all white flour, but again I like to do 1/2 and 1/2)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350. Mix together butter, sugars, and applesauce. Add eggs, egg whites, and vanilla. Beat well. Add in dry ingredients. Mix together and then add chocolate chips. Bake for 10 mins or until slightly golden. They are better if they aren't crispy, but a dab under cooked.
The nutrition facts come out looking a little something like this:
There are a lot of other little changes that you can make when you're trying to eat better one step at a time. Here are some of my suggestions for some small changes that can add up to make a big difference.
- Go whole grain. Buy wheat bread instead of white. Make brown rice instead of white rice. Switch out your regular pasta for whole wheat pasta. Try other delicious whole grains such as quinoa, cous cous, or barley.
- Stop buying junk. If it's not there it won't get eaten. It's as simple as that.
- Make it a goal to incorporate at least one serving of a fruit and vegetable at every meal.
- Stop putting butter on everything. Learn to use seasonings, herbs, and spices. There is actually other flavors aside from "smothered in butter." Crazy right?
- Plan your meals for the week ahead of time. We eat crappy when we aren't prepared and it turns into the grab and go scenario. Don't let that happen to you.
- Eat real breakfasts instead of just sugared cereal. Whole grain cereals, whole wheat toast, eggs and egg whites, protein shakes, etc. These are much better options than starting the day off with 60 grams of sugar sludging through your body.
- Switch from 2% or low fat milk to skim milk. It will save you calories and fat.
- Use low fat or non fat soups as base soups for your meals.
- Stop covering everything in a pound of cheese. Use stronger flavored cheese so you only need a touch of it instead of eight cups.
- Build your meals around lean protein and healthy fruits and vegetables.
- Stop cooking like your mom/grandma. Despite what Paula Dean may say, you don't need a stick of butter in everything.
- Stop frying your food. Instead faux fry them with an egg white dredge and whole wheat bread crumbs or panko, and then bake them.
- Focus on the good foods you are adding into your diet, instead of only thinking about what you can't have. Healthy food can be so delicious and full of flavor.
- Drop the dressing. Instead use salsa, or put the dressing on the side and then just dip your fork for the small amount you need. You'll save tons of calories.
- Eat at home instead of on the go. You'll be more aware and more conscious of what your food is comprised of.
- Make healthy snacks available for your kids, and encourage them to eat those snacks instead. You'll be surprised they may just delve right in.
- Be aware of your extra snacks and desserts. You don't need five treats a day. You just don't.
I know...kind of a lot...but hopefully you found one or two things that could help you make your food choices just that much healthier. It's worth the effort. I promise. You will feel better and look better, and your family will too.
Do you feel like you have "healthy" taste buds, or are your healthy food choices more of an effort for you? I definitely have an affinity for healthy food, but it is also a conscious choice for me. What are some small changes you've made in your eating habits that have helped you become a little bit healthier? I never use butter. Ever. I don't even like the taste of it anymore. I always get my salad dressing on the side. I don't eat candy and sugar.