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Healthy cookies for kids?

Our toddler is the pickiest eater I've ever seen, and we're always struggling to find ways to introduce new foods. Of course, he loves all things sweet and especially cookies. Any suggestions on tasty cookies that also deliver some nutritional value? I'm thinking things w/ oatmeal, dried fruits, nuts, etc. Of course, they have to taste enough like a sweet treat to interest the discerning eater. I have a few oatmeal raisin cookies, but don't love the recipes I'm using.

Thanks for any ideas and recipes!


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  1. I actually follow the Quaker Oats "vanishing oatmeal cookies" recipe that's on their box, but I replace the butter with mashed banana. I then stir in whatever I have on hand in the way of nuts, dried fruit, etc. Fresh diced apples are really good, too. They bake up softer and cakier than an average cookie, and are really pretty good for you.

    1. maybe start steering away from cookies and off into cobblers and crisps now that summer fruit is coming into season? just the tiniest bit of crumbly topping will go a long way over luscious berries. a little bit of whipped cream, or a tiny bit of iced cream or low fat frozen yogurt on top would work too.

      dried fruits in cookies and such are really concentrated bundles of sugar and calories, and not all that healthy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        We're headed to a strawberry field this weekend. We have no problem getting him to eat tons of fresh fruit, but I'm also trying to find ways to get him to eat different grains (beyond semolina flour in noodles!) So I like the idea of some of these cookies that incorporate whole grains, etc. But we'll keep up w/ the fruits as well!

      2. I have a recipe for carrot cookies, if you're interested. Shredded carrots, raisins, chopped nuts. But still it's got flour and sugar. And of course they taste better with cream cheese frosting! Also, I've made chocolate-zucchini bread which is a quick bread texture. You could also make the recipe into mini muffins, stash in the freezer.

        And definitely not a cookie, but would he go for bananas on a stick, dipped in melted chocolate. Or home-made Popsicles with 100% juice? We love 100% pomegranate and 100% blueberry, but they're a splurge. Concord grape juice is much more reasonably priced. Would the popsicle stick be a problem? On second thought, I'm seeing grape juice all over child's face, shirt, hands, the floor, the dog....maybe not such a good idea unless it's right before bathtime!

        2 Replies
        1. re: nemo

          I'd love the recipe for carrot cookies, if you'll share!

          1. re: sljones

            Frosted Carrot Drops

            3/4 cup sugar
            1/2 cup butter, softened
            1 t vanilla
            1 egg
            1-3/4 cups flour
            1 t baking powder
            1 cup shredded carrots
            1/2 cup raisins (optional)
            1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
            1/3 cup shredded coconut (optional)

            Preheat oven to 350.

            Beat sugar and butter until fluffly. Add vanilla and egg. Blend well. Combine flour and baking powder on a piece of wax paper. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients (do not use mixer). Stir in carrots, raisins, nuts and/or coconut.

            Drop by teaspoonsful on ungreased cookie sheet (or on parchment-lined trays). Bake 12-15 minutes, or until light brown around the edges. Remove from cookie sheet, cool completely, frost if desired with cream cheese frosting.

            NOTES: I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour for the entire amount of flour. I used a cookie scoop and got 40 cookies. They did not spread much at all. Last tray, I used a glass dipped in sugar to lightly tamp each raw cookie before baking. I don't know why the recipe says not to use a mixer?

            I shredded the carrots, first cut into small chunks, then processed in my mini processor until ground.

            PS Also check out Mollie Katzen's cookbooks for kids. One is "Stone Soup." Might be helpful as well to engage the little guy in his own food prep. Good luck!

        2. I make a really good oatmeal cookie with raisins and apple. It's not as sweet as most cookies, and the shredded apple makes the cookie nice and moist. I like to use the golden raisins from Trader Joes, or sometimes the regular. I've made different variations with the same oatmeal cookie, using cranberries, dried cherries, or chocolate chips.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chef chicklet

            I'm not happy w/ my oatmeal cookie recipe, so would love to see your basic version.

          2. The Sneaky Chef's Breakfast Cookie contains ricotta cheese, (some protein!) wheat germ, whole grain cereal, plus whole wheat flour with cinnamon and brown sugar.

            You can also try her healthy blondies.

            Healthy Banana Cookies- with oats and dates

            Cookies in Disguise -with whole wheat flour, whole grain cereals, chopped nuts and dried fruit

            Peanut Butter Power Cookie -with flaxseed

            Apple-Oatmeal Cookies

            1 Reply
            1. re: toveggiegirl

              I made the sneaky chef's breakfast cookie (link: http://www.cooksrecipes.com/articles/...) for the kids' lunch boxes and they loved them. Nice to find something without nuts so they can take it to school.

            2. Also, have heard of this new book, "Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater", by Matthew Amster-Burton. It's about a food critic and his (sometimes picky) daughter. I heard an interview with the author, and if nothing else, I think it could be a fun read.

              1 Reply
              1. re: toveggiegirl

                I love this idea! I'll check out the book. I'll check out some of the recipes you mentioned as well!

              2. This friendship bar from David Lebovitz is delicious and keeps well. It's mostly dried fruit and nuts, rather than being butter and flour based (though there is some flour to hold it together.) I think that with the right combo of dried fruit and nuts, a three year old would take to it, though you'll know best whether he'd utterly reject say, for instance, dates, and you should use all dried apricots, that sort of thing. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives...

                You could also experiment with substituting half of the refined white flour in various recipes with something like barley flour, which is higher in fiber but entirely passable to picky eaters. It's one of the easier whole grain flours to pass off with kids, as the color is whiter than whole wheat flour. You might find some useful info in the King Arthur Flour Company's Whole Grain Baking cookbook. There are lots of kid friendly recipes in that book.

                1. How about Niki's Healthy Cookie recipe from Heidi Swanson's site?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: emily

                    I liked the Nikki's Healthy Cookies - I stored them in the fridge, where they kept very well for several weeks. Looking at the recipe, it was obvious to me that they wouldn't hold together unless I added an egg, so I did and they did. . Later read comments about how they fall apart if made according to the recipe. I thought they were better the next day, and cold, than the day they were baked.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      I also really like Nikki's Healthy cookies. I have never needed an egg.

                      It got a bit of flack for high calories (and I can't personally vouch for them), but they seem good if you know it is a dessert:
                      White House Fruit and Oat Bars

                      I also have this on my hitlist for excess zucchini:
                      Zucchini and Lemon Cookies