March 19 is a holiday that sweets enthusiasts around the United States can get behind: National Oatmeal Cookie Day. We want to get behind some oatmeal cookies (or, possibly, oatmeal raisin cookies) too, but they seem to fall just outside of the healthy eating city walls. Thus, we’d like to show you how you can make your breakfast oats taste just like an oatmeal raisin cookie with good health in mind.
While glancing over the ingredients list of one particular Oatmeal Cookies recipe, a few things stand out to us. The first three ingredients are enough to startle the healthy side of anyone: A list starting with two sticks of butter, a quarter cup of granulated sugar, and one and three-quarters cups of packed light brown sugar doesn’t suggest a “healthy snack.”
Poring over the rest of the list, there are two tablespoons of pure vanilla extract, two and one-half teaspoons of salt, and one-quarter cup of eggs listed. While many people are wary of salt and sodium, and with good reason, these three ingredients seem fairly harmless. Eggs are a great source of protein, and vanilla extract doesn’t really add much to the total cookie calorie count.
Next, we have one and one-half cups of all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour isn’t tabooed by all healthy communities yet, but it’s certainly on its way out. Many people prefer whole wheat flours or flours made from things like quinoa, black beans, or almonds (learn how to make your own almond flour). The recipe ends with two tablespoons each of baking soda and ground cinnamon, three and three-quarter cups of old-fashioned rolled oats, and one cup of raisins.
Nearly a year ago, raisins were deemed a healthy snack by the Supreme Court. The healthiness of old-fashioned oats should never be called to question, and cinnamon has been shown to help regulate blood sugar. Baking soda, something people in lab coats call sodium bicarbonate, doesn’t add to the calorie count, either.
With all of this in mind, it’s clear which ingredients someone leading a healthy eating lifestyle will want to incorporate into her or his cookie-tasting breakfast oats and which ones she or he should omit.