Closeup photo of gingerbread cookies. Courtesy of Getty Images.
Courtesy of Getty Images.

How can you make your favorite holiday cookies more nutritious? A CWRU expert weighs in

Whether a cookie tray sends you reaching for sugar, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin or another option, chances are you enjoy the sweet treats known to be a major part of the holiday season.  

In honor of National Cookie Day today (Dec. 4), The Daily reached out to Lindsay Malone, instructor in the Department of Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, for tips on how to make these sweets a bit nutritious. 

Not sure where to start? Give this gingerbread recipe—one of Malone’s favorites—a try. What makes this recipe a more nutritious option? Malone said the flavor is driven by spices, and the recipe’s call for applesauce cuts down on fat and calories while maintaining moisture.

See what else Malone suggests below. 

Answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

1. Incorporate high-quality ingredients that have some nutritional value.

For example: organic grass-fed butter (omega 3), ginger (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant), molasses (iron, b vitamins), unsweetened nuts and nut butters (protein, fiber), and dates (fiber, potassium) may be healthier (but still indulgent) swaps.

2. Make smart adjustments. 

Is there an opportunity to cut down on sugar? Reduce saturated or trans fat? For online recipes, read the reviews for suggestions on how to adjust without sacrificing taste or texture. 

3. Don’t mindlessly munch.

Eat something you enjoy with intention rather than grazing on sweets and treats because they are there. Savor each bite. 

4. Enjoy the process.

Put on some holiday music while you bake or listen to your favorite podcast. Even better: Bake with family and friends to maximize the experience!