I have the ultimate sweet tooth. Candy, chocolate, cookies…I love it all! So when I made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle, my sweet tooth ached like never before. This is the point when most people give up and go back to their old unhealthy ways. And I’ve done that. But over the years I’ve come to realize that being healthy is not about eliminating things from your diet. It’s about balance. Do your best to eat healthy foods throughout the week, then enjoy that pizza on Saturday. Eating healthy is about being good to your body and your soul. Feeling guilty is not a part of that.
The other important thing I’ve learned in my quest for a healthier, happier lifestyle is the fact that delicious desserts don’t have to be totally unhealthy! Our culture has been brought up on the idea that in order for a recipe to taste good, it has to have ridiculous amounts of sugar, slabs of butter, oceans of oil, and mounds of salt. IT’S NOT TRUE!
Here’s a recipe I love because it tastes like your cheating…but they’re not bad for you! And just when you’d never think this combo would taste so scrumptious, it does. Stuff your self skinny with:
Healthy Zucchini Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Difficulty level: Beginner Baker
Supplies Needed: Oven, baking sheet
Food Allergies: Contains eggs, Can be Gluten FREE
Yield: about 24 large or 36 small cookies
1 Cup whole wheat flour (OR oat flour for a gluten free cookie- buy oat flour or just blend rolled oats until fine)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 Cup grated zucchini
1/4 Cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Cups rolled oats
3/4 Cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a nonstick baking sheet or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In another large bowl, mix together applesauce and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add chopped zucchini, mix. Slowly add flour mixture while mixing. Finally, stir in oats and chocolate chips. Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of mixture onto baking sheet and push down to shape cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges brown. Let cool, and enjoy!
These cookies are a fun treat to make with your roommate on a rainy day! Or by yourself as a treat FOR your roommates! Baking can also be a great stress reliever when you need a break from that 18 page paper. On top of that, zucchini have great health benefits like lowering cholesterol, aiding in digestion, and curbing overeating. At only 77 cents a pound at Winco (or Waremart in Monmouth- thank you, reader!), zucchini’s a steal!
After you enjoy your delicious cookies, get back into the swing of things and find a fun activity to get some exercise. Western Oregon University has a great variety of classes that are FREE for students!
Finally, don’t give up. Whether it’s your exercise routine, your diet, school, or your dreams- don’t ever give up. Push yourself and be proud of the person you’ve become!
By Tia Jay