‘Tis the season for cookies, Christmas, and gratitude. Did you know leaving cookies and milk out for Santa began as a tradition to show thanks for the potential presents that may be left on Christmas Eve?
All good things, especially traditions like this, can be traced back to a point in history when there was a reason for gratitude during the season, like during the Great Depression. Families weren’t always on solid footing, which means children didn’t always have a present under the tree, or even food on the table. Children were encouraged to give of what they had to others as a reminder to be grateful for what they did have, even if it wasn’t much.
Years later, leaving cookies and milk out for Santa is something many children look forward to in the hopes of giving Saint Nick a treat in thanks for the treats he leaves under the tree. Santa’s got a difficult job, traveling to 1,587,743,586 homes to deliver 7,700,000,000 presents, munching on over 520,000,000,000 calories on Christmas Eve according to this fun analysis of Santa's job. Now, mom and dad might have healthy holiday resolutions, such as: don’t gain a billion pounds from Christmas sweets. Santa’s got a difficult job, and one of us has got to do it.
Here’s how to make your cookies healthier this year so Santa (cough: dad) doesn’t add to the belly full of jelly.
It’s easy to heavy load on salt when you’re baking. Surprisingly, many cookie recipes are high in sodium - not to mention the type of butter you use when you’re making said cookies is important too. It’s recommended you don’t go over ½ of a teaspoon of salt in your recipes. Otherwise, consider cutting the measurement down even more!
Try this tasty upgrade of an old classic.
Oats, whole wheat flour, and spices that have health benefits are much better ingredients than the creamiest, milkiest of chocolate chips. Decadent cookies have their place, but when you need to be able to consume almost 3 billion in a night, trading in the sweets for a bit of wholesome savory will help you in the health department.
You can always make substitutions for certain ingredients. Butter comes to mind immediately. There are a lot of different ingredients you can use instead of butter that are more heart-healthy, such as olive oil or greek yogurt.
These vegan wine cookies are a fantastic, wholesome option.
Christmas cookies are undeniably sweet, as they should be. But too much sugar isn’t good for Santa, so sleighing the amount of sugar in your recipes is a solid idea. Just because there isn’t a lot of sugar doesn’t mean the cookies can’t be sweet.
Using honey is a very natural way to sweeten baked goods. Sweets that have fruit in the recipe will naturally be sweeter. These are great sugar substitutes for your holiday baking.
Skip the sugar with these no-sugar cookies … but check out the comments and cut back on the butter added to this recipe.
May all your cookies be baked just right and your holiday season be merry and bright.