I had a very proud moment not long ago when my almost four year old asked me, “Mama, what’s an Oreo?” Of course that was followed by, “Can I have one?” I have to say that my little ones are amazingly understanding when I explain that a certain food isn’t healthy or isn’t something we eat. Either they really trust me or they know on some level that those foods make them feel bad. Maybe a combination of the two. I keep wondering when they are going to start to fight me on it though. As I’ve mentioned before I do make exceptions for very special occasions, but I also realize that this can be a slippery slope and I have to draw the line somewhere. A play date or a visit with a relative (while special) is not a special occasion that deserves cake and cookies every time. There’s definitely a cultural perception that sugary treats are a right of passage for kids and it’s not always easy to “shelter” them from the constant offering of non-nutritive (a.k.a. junk) food or the marketing that perpetuates the idea that it’s “normal.” One thing that helps is keeping homemade, sweet treats on hand on a pretty regular basis. Consequently I’ve come up with an arsenal of semi-healthy recipes that I can pull out when I’m starting to feel like the Big Mean Mommy Who Always Says No.COCOA-COCONUT COOKIES:
- 1 Egg
- 4 TBS Raw Organic Butter
- 4 TBS Coconut Oil
- 1/3 C Almond Butter
- 1/3 C (or less) Coconut Palm Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1.5 C Baking Mix (I use Pamela’s Gluten Free Mix)
- 3 TBS Raw Organic Cocoa Powder
- 1/3 – 1/2 C Unsweetened Coconut
- Carob Chips (optional)
- Nuts (optional)
- Using a beater on medium speed, cream together egg, butter, oil, almond butter, sugar and vanilla. Slowly add baking mix and cocoa and beat until combined.
- Add coconut and sprinkle in just a handful of carob chips if you want to make them seem naughty and mix by hand.
- If you have some soaked and dried nuts on hand throw those in as well.
- Roll one inch balls and place them on a cookie sheet and press down with a fork vertically and horizontally to create a criss-cross pattern.
- Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
A couple of caveats to this post. Sugar is sugar is sugar. Yes, some might be more “natural” or more nutritive and some might have a lower glycemic index but none of it is healthy and no sweetener should be used in access. And whatever you do please, please, please do not use artificial sweetener in any treat you plan to give to a child! Now I’m realizing that our idea of sweet is very different than most people’s and while these cookies seem pretty sweet to us they may not to you. Rather than scrapping an entire batch of cookies taste test the batter and add more sugar if you must. But I promise you that if you take a little bit out every time you make these, no one will ever notice and your taste buds will totally adjust and learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of so many foods.
Eat Well, Be Well,