You probably know by now that I’m not a big sweets person. I just don’t have the taste for it, but I live with 3 people who do. So I try to make healthy treats to keep at home for my sweet babies so they still feel treated. I know I can’t control what they eat outside of the home and I’m OK with that. I believe kids should eat ‘normal’ treats, they should know what they taste like, they shouldn’t be told they’re off limits, but they should be told the truth about them. I tell my kids that sugary treats are a ‘sometimes food’, that they aren’t healthy but we still eat them from time to time. I want them to have a healthy relationship with food, with all food- good and bad.
I also get my kids to help me make my healthy treats because I want them to know exactly what’s inside. I don’t believe in hiding healthy foods or tricking kids into eating them, I believe in an open conversation with your children about all food. When your kids cook or bake with you, they learn about math and work on fine motor skills, it also helps build self esteem. A child is so proud to eat something that they helped create. (And it doesn’t hurt that they get to nibble as they work!)
So even though I can’t change the fact that we live in a sugar laden land where packaged cream-filled and glazed confections are on every corner, in my house, I’m the boss. And the boss makes treats that taste good and do good. Like these amazingly healthy and yummy cookies made only with things our bodies can recognize and use as fuel. They can be for breakfast, a snack or a dessert. The ‘dough’ has no flour, no dairy, no added sugar and no added oil or butter. I chose to top each one with a few dark chocolate chips but feel free to add nuts and/or dried fruit if that’s what you prefer. They aren’t extremely sweet but the small amount of chocolate in each bite adds a really nice touch. They’re very soft and moist but also very dense. My kids loved them, my husband and my mother did as well (all ‘normal’ sweets people).
And I hope you will too!
(Healthy!) Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
In a large mixing bowl, take a potato masher and mash, until smooth…
- 2 ripe bananas (This is your sweetener and therefore they do faintly taste like bananas, but it isn’t an overpowering flavor. I prefer to use yellow bananas that still have some firmness because I’m not a fan of the flavor of overly ripe bananas, but if you decide to use the black ones then yours will just be sweeter and more concentrated in banana flavor.)
Then add in the following…
- 1/2 cup (no sugar added) applesauce
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (mine has some cane sugar in it, and creamy is what I prefer but crunchy is totally fine for a more textured cookie)
- good splash vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- freshly grated nutmeg (roughly 1/4 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp + healthy pinch kosher salt
Mix everything until fully incorporated.
(Yep. That’s my 6 year old son mixing up the healthy cookie batter while holding a sucker. I realize the irony here.)
Then add in the following:
- 1 1/2 cup rolled oats, (the ‘quick’ kind can work if that’s what you have)
- 1/2 cup (unsweetened and natural) coconut flakes/shredded coconut
Using a small cookie scoop (or two large soup spoons), scoop out batter and place on a parchment or silpat-lined cookie sheet (ungreased). No need to space them far apart- these don’t spread when baked.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. (Even though there’s nothing that can’t be eaten raw in these, they’re baked so they can firm up. Without baking the batter, you’re just making raw oatmeal…)
Allow to cool on the pan until you can move them to a rack if you want to cool them down completely for storage. Otherwise serve warm while the chocolate is still gooey!!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a longer ‘shelf life’ and consume within a few days for optimal flavor.