The No Fake, No Bake Healthy Holiday Cookie
Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD and Mom
The holidays are just around the corner and we all want our kids to enjoy them – but still manage to eat healthfully!
So when choosing cookies to serve, don’t just fall prey to holiday lights and bright pretty colors. Look beyond the nutrition facts and start reading cookie ingredients! What may seem the same can in fact be quite different. This is especially true when it comes to food in boxes. Food coloring may come from artificial dyes like Yellow 5 and Red 40, rather than veggies!
We found 4 cookie options that wow the tastes buds, but our winner, Bitsy’s Brainfood Zucchini Gingerbread and Carrot cookies, are the most nutrient-dense! This is a choice that moms and kids will love – and yes, our winner even has real veggies inside!
#4 Choice — Nabisco Chips Ahoy! Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies
Per Serving:
160 calories
60 calories from fat
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 2.5g
Trans Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 110mg
Potassium 45mg
Total Carbohydrate 22g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 11g  
Protein 1g  
Vitamin A 0%
Calcium 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Iron 8%
Ingredients: Unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate {vitamin b1}, riboflavin {vitamin b2}, folic acid), sugar, semisweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate, dextrose, cocoa butter, soy lecithin), soybean oil, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, high fructose corn syrup, cocoa (natural and processed with alkali), leavening (baking soda and/or ammonium phosphate), salt, whey (from milk), dextrose, artificial color (includes red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, yellow 5, blue 1, blue 1 lake), soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, caramel color, confectioner’s glaze, carnuba wax, beeswax.
Pros – The calories could keep up energy levels up while running the marathon or while Santa goes from house to house.
Cons – But on a regular basis, these confections are filled with fake food products like partially hydrogenated oils and High Fructose Corn Syrup, so they may not be mom’s first choice. Red this and yellow that, plus wax and beeswax. Can we really eat this? Please don’t give Santa these cookies. If he ate these at every house he might not make it to yours!!
#3 Choice — Pillsbury Santa Pre-Cut Cookies
Per serving:
120 calories
6g fat
1.5g saturated fat
2.5g trans fat – !!
15g carbohydrates
0g fiber
8g sugars
0% vitamins – no vitamins
2% iron
Ingredients: Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Water. Contains 2% or less of: Eggs, Baking Powder (sodium aluminum phosphate, baking soda), Salt, Artificial Flavor, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 6, Sodium Benzoate (preservative).
Pros – Tasty, fun to decorate and only 15 grams of carb for two cookies
Cons – Includes partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil (we didn’t even think this was allowed anymore!), Artificial Flavor, Yellow %, Blue 1, Red 40 and Yellow 6.
# 2 Choice — Mi-Del Ginger Snap Cookies
Per serving:
140 calories
4g fat
0g saturated fat
0g trans fat
22g carbohydrates
1g fiber
11g sugars
2% calcium
4% iron
0% vitamins
Ingredients: Organic unbleached wheat flour, organic dehydrated cane juice, canola oil, unsulphured molasses, ginger, baking soda, sea salt, soy lethicin (used as an emulsifier).
Pros –Organic unbleached whole wheat flour is the first ingredient!! Also has canola oil – a heart healthy choice but not organic so may contain GMOs. Simple and short list of ingredients!
Cons – No veggies. Questions about GMOs. Also, remember it’s still a cookie –ie a “sometimes” food.
#1 Choice — Bitsy’s Brainfood Zucchini Gingerbread and Carrot
Per Serving:
110 calories (30 grams)
4 grams fat
2 grams sat fat
100 mg sodium
18 grams carb
1 gram fiber
8 grams sugar
2 grams protein
Vitamin A 30%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 20%
Iron 20%
Vitamin D3 40%
Folate 40%
Vitamin B6 40%
Vitamin B12 40%
Ingredients: Organic whole wheat flour, organic molasses, organic palm oil, organic pastry flour, organic brown sugar, organic dehydrated carrots, vitamin premix (maltodextrin, calcium carbonate, ferric orthophosphate, Vitamin A palmitate, cholecalciferol, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, cyanocobalamin), dehydrated zucchini square, pea protein, vanilla extract organic eggs, omega-3 powder (refined fish oil (anchovy and sardine)), fish gelatin (tilapia), ascorbic acid, sunflower oil, tocopherols, natural flavor, citric acid, baking soda, sea salt.
Pros – Whole wheat flour is first ingredient! Includes organic dehydrated carrots, a vitamin mix, dehydrated zucchini squash, pea protein and assurance of non-GMOs. Organic eggs, and even omega 3 fatty Acids – in the fish form!!! But you can’t taste it. I promise!! 20% iron for our picky tots who refuse meat and poultry!! Love the letter shapes.
Cons: Not available at every grocery store. Nutrition facts look similar to other cookies because in fact, it is still a cookie.
So the ultimate no fake no bake healthy holiday cookie is Bitsy’s BrainFood Zucchini Gingerbread and Carrot Cookies, followed by Mi-Del Ginger Snap Cookies in second place and the Pillsbury Santa Pre Cut Cookies. Help your kids be healthy this holiday season of eating!