We are constantly inundated with news reports declaring that practically everything we ingest is killing us. Okay, maybe that’s a bit far fetched. But it can be really overwhelming at times to read any advice on parenting, nutrition or general health. I know I can be left feeling so overcome by the idea of overhauling my family’s entire diet or routine that I would rather completely ignore a notion rather than divulge it.
However, I am really committed to the wellness of my family so must face these touchy topics. High fructose corn syrup, food coloring, artificial sweeteners and many other villains are lurking in our foods and they must be dealt with. Adopting a more rural lifestyle has helped bring additional fresh produce into our kitchen, but like most families out there I still visit the grocery store each week and have kids whining over that colorful box of cereal with their favorite character on the front of it.
Like other things in my life, I am going to approach this scary giant with baby steps. I am not the type to completely overhaul my life, restrict myself to the point of misery or go rouge. So I’ve decided to start with two of the most scariest culprits (to me): high fructose corn syrup and the food preservative, TBHQ.
Now, I am not writing this post to convince you of the harmfulness of these ingredients, there are plenty of scientific studies out there able to provide you with that (and I am no expert!). But I have read enough to encourage this endeavor and impress upon you the importance of at least looking into these ingredients and the affects they have on your body when consumed.
That being said, I had a little educational conversation with my boys one night after feeling disturbed enough to clean out the pantry. I told them about what I had researched and to my surprise they were incredibly intrigued. My boys are three and seven so I was really excited by their particular interest in their health and helpfulness in my “project”. So together, the three of us went through the kitchen, reading labels and identifying any foods that might contain these ingredients.
I was a personal trainer in my former life, so I am no stranger to making healthy choices. But kids can be persuasive and my husband does not share my interest in healthy practices (he thinks I am a bit overboard). Therefore we have our share of ten-year shelf life foods! But as any momma bear would do, I took action and simply made the call to eliminate certain items from our house.
For those of you wondering what that might have included – it was the chips ahoy, Cheez-Its (a former favorite), peanut butter crackers and OREOS!
So to keep my family and our bellies happy, I have started baking significantly MORE! There are a lot of treats you can make from scratch that aren’t time consuming and are kid-approved (check out my double chocolate zucchini bread recipe as well!). Here is the latest creation I am whipping up this week! And in the heart of fall, when apples are in season, this should be especially delightful! Enjoy!
Oatmeal Apple Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Made 16 servings
1 Honeycrisp apple, finely chopped
2 cups oats
1 ½ cups almond flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 stick of butter, softened
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
chopped pecans (1-2 per cookie)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment. Finely chop apple.
- In a medium bowl, combine the oats, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, with a hand mixer or standing mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and extract until smooth. Beat in the apple. Add dry ingredients and beat until well combined (dough will be somewhat crumbly).
- With small cookie scoop or by heaping tablespoons, scoop and roll dough into balls and place on lined cookie sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Press lightly to flatten. Top each with sliced pecans.
- Bake 15 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets with wire racks.