Monday, December 24, 2012

Healthier Cookies for Santa

Merry Christmas Eve! Today we'll be making cookies to leave out for Santa, but this year we're making efforts to help Santa be more powerful (all that work on Christmas Eve, you know) by switching out a few ingredients with healthier options. We heard that Santa has some goals for the new year in the areas of eating more healthily as well as getting more exercise. Why would Santa do that?



We looked to the American Cancer Society for answers, and here's what we found:

·         Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of many types of cancer. Here are ideas on how to eat healthy and get active.
·         Did you know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your cancer risk? The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day. Here are two resources filled with ideas for upping your fruit and vegetable consumption through the day.
·         Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products. Here are some innovative ways to add more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to your day while watching your refined carbohydrates, sugar, and fat intake.
·         Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat. Some studies have linked eating large amounts of processed meat to increased risk of colorectal and stomach cancers.
·         Drink no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men. Alcohol raises the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), esophagus, liver, breast, and the colon and rectum.
·         Stock your kitchen with a variety of foods that you can throw together for healthy meals in a hurry. Keep these foods on hand for fast meals on busy nights.
·         Did you know that being physically active can reduce your risk of several types of cancer, including breast, colon, endometrial, and prostate?  The Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week. Here are some tips to help you fit exercise into your busy schedule.

With all this information we thought a good start would be to make substitutions for ingredients in recipes we already regularly make -- even our cookie recipes. 

For the record, I can make chocolate chip cookies with my eyes closed. Okay, not actually with my eyes closed, but I don't need to look at a recipe to know what's needed. Here's how we'll be preparing cookies for Santa tonight:

*****

Preheat oven to 375°

Cream together the following:
1 C. coconut oil (instead of butter)
1 C. brown sugar
½ C. white sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

In a separate bowl, mix together the following:
1 ¼ C. all-purpose flour
½ C. wheat flour (instead of an additional cup of all-purpose flour)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt

Add to the sugar mixture and mix well:
1 egg
2 egg whites (instead of an additional egg)

Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture; mix well. 

Stir in:
3 C. chocolate chips

Place rounded spoonfuls (I use a scoop to make sure they're all the same size) onto a baking sheet (I use baking stones) and bake for 11 minutes; let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet/stone and then move cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. 

*****

Like I said, tonight will be our first time trying these substitutions. They might work, and we might need to make adjustments, but the point is that these changes can start anywhere, at any time, no matter how small, to increase health and reduce the risk of cancer. 

Just to be on the safe side, I think we should write a note to Santa and ask him to do some jumping jacks between deliveries. 

Merry Christmas, and a happy, Healthier New Year to you and yours!

I'm sharing this recipe for the American Cancer Society's series, A Healthier Holiday Table. To see more, search @MoreBirthdays or #HealthierHolidays, or visit the More Birthdays facebook page. Also, please feel free to share your healthy recipes to contribute to a world with less cancer and More Birthdays.  

1 comment:

Kacy Faulconer said...

I think Santa might be getting double stuffs over here.