These days, it seems taking a health-conscious approach to almost everything is the norm, and snacks like cookies get a bad rap more often than not. While there are lots of healthier cookie recipes out there, you may wonder exactly what it is inside cookies that gets such a terrible rating from the “health police.” Here’s a quick overview of a few of the unhealthier ingredients most cookie recipes contain.
Most cookie recipes call for all-purpose, bleached flour. This has become almost the standard in society today, and the simple reality is that it’s just not very good for you. The push to switch to whole grains has been underway for some time now, but cookie recipes still tend to rely on refined white flour. It isn’t absorbed by your body as a wheat or a grain. Instead it’s immediately converted to a starch, which means your body reacts to it the way it might any other sugar. It simply means added carbs to your diet.
Nearly any classic cookie recipe calls for granulated white sugar as part of the ingredient line-up. You may find a few lightweight cookies that call for powdered sugar. You may find some that call for brown sugar along with white sugar, too. Any way you look at the equation, though, sugar is certainly among the worst ingredients inside those delicious cookies. There’s a link between sugar and unhealthy levels of blood fats, and excess sugar is a sure-fire cause for serious weight gain in many people.
Butter and Other Fats
You’ll find cookie and cookie bouquet recipes generally packed with these. Butter itself is high in saturated fat, and switching to margarine may leave your cookies without the flavor and shape you’re looking for. Processed vegetable oil and shortening are also problematic, as all of them can raise your cholesterol level and contribute to heart disease. They can also cause you to eat a few more calories than you should.
There’s been a debate for quite some time over the health value of eggs. One month you may see the anti-egg rally winning. The next month you may hear that eggs are good for you again. The simple reality, though, is that they’re high in cholesterol and consuming too many of them is never going to be good for you.
Wondering if you can actually bake a healthy cookie? Absolutely. There are many different substitutions you can make for a healthier cookie that will have you munching and crunching your way to better health in no time at all. Use applesauce or plain yogurt for your fat substitute. Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t replace more than half of the amount of fat, or you risk recipe failure. Eggs can be replaced with egg whites (2 egg whites replaces one whole egg) or cholesterol free egg substitutes. Whole wheat flour can play the role of refined white flour. There are also a number of sugar substitutes like Splenda that can replace your sugar to make a healthier cookie.