Longer Reads

T’was the Day After Christmas…

And all through the house…there were leftover cookies and cakes, candy canes and chocolate mousse.

(OK, bad rhyme!)

Most people will probably be waking up to a host of leftover treats and goodies from the previous week of holiday cheer. Even as a holistic health counselor who tries her best to keep a minimal amount of sugar-filled baked goods in my house, I currently have a fridge filled with flourless chocolate cake, homemade whipped cream, and fresh baked chocolate chip oatmeal cookies just staring me in the face (and calling my name) every time I open the fridge door.

So what’s a health-conscious gal or guy to do?? It can be easy to push off “being healthy” until after the new year. What’s one more week of overindulging, waking up to sugar-hangovers and upset stomachs? The problem with that mentality is that it can be seriously difficult to get back into a good mindset and back “on the health wagon” when the holiday season is over.¬† And it’s also been proven that the average person gains around 5 lbs over the holidays (and most people never take that weight off again…so 10 holidays later, you may find yourself 50 lbs heavier!).

Your best defense is to start weening yourself off those sugary snacks now! I’m not saying you shouldn’t still enjoy some bites of those yummy Christmas desserts you love. But now’s the time to start enjoying a little less of them. Portion out a small amount of the treat you crave and leave it at that. If you can’t be trusted with a house filled with goodies and you can’t bear the thought of throwing them out, start giving them away to neighbors and friends or bringing them to the office for coworkers. It will be a lot easier to avoid sugar-overindulgence if the cakes and cookies are not in your house. To satisfy your sweet tooth, enjoy treats sweetened with natural sweeteners like maple syrup or agave nectar. You’ll still get that sweet kick but without the harsh effect on your body.

Try this easy recipe for healthy coconut, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies that I got from 101 Cookbooks:

Healthy Cookie

Healthy Cookie

Nikki’s Healthy Cookie Recipe

You can use unsweetened carob, or grain sweetened chocolate chips, or chop up 2/3 of a bar of 70% cocoa-content chocolate. You can make your own almond meal by pulsing almonds in a food processor until it is the texture of sand – don’t go too far or you’ll end up with almond butter. And lastly, the coconut oil works beautifully here, just be sure to warm it a bit – enough that it is no longer solid, which makes it easier to incorporate into the bananas. If you have gluten allergies, seek out gluten-free oats.

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm – so it isn’t solid (or alternately, olive oil)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 – 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don’t worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes, watching to make sure you don’t burn the bottoms of the cookies.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.