20 Healthy Cookie Recipes That Won't Derail Your Diet
I, the writer, am the first to admit that I can never just have one cookie. However, I definitely don't peddle away in spin class or limp out of the gym of leg day to completely undo my workout with a dessert—which is why I poured over each contender on this list, omitting and modifying until I was confident that each cookie recipe fit within the confines of a healthy, balanced diet—and was worth every precious calorie. You're welcome.
And if you're one to toss a package of cookies in your grocery cart, please steer clear of The 30 Worst Supermarket Cookies in America!
DARK CHOCOLATE AVOCADO COOKIES
Nutrition (serving size is 2 cookies for all recipes except where noted): 130 calories, 6.6 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 77 mg sodium, 18 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 11.7 g sugar, 2.5 g protein
It's hard to not obsess over avocado recipes period, let alone one that's actually a dessert. After all, the beloved fruit is a waist-whittling savior. In fact, according to the Journal of Diabetes Care, a diet rich in monounsaturated fat may actually prevent body fat distribution around the belly by down regulating the expression of certain fat genes. And another study published in Nutrition Journal discovered that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch experienced a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterward.
Get the recipe from Apple of My Eye.
MINT CHIP COCONUT PROTEIN COOKIE BITES
Nutrition: 149 calories, 9.9 g fat (8.1 g saturated), 27 mg sodium, 10.4 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, 8.5 g sugar, 3 g protein, 5 g protein
Our favorite thing about these mint chip cookie bites is that there is absolutely no food dye. Instead, they are colored with chlorophyll, the naturally occurring pigment found in plants. It also helps that they are gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free and nut-free because everyone deserves dessert.
Get the recipe from Purely Twins.
SKINNY COOKIE DOUGH POPSICLES
Nutrition: 100 calories, 6.4 g fat (1.7 g saturated), 47 mg sodium, 7.3 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 6.5 g sugar, 6.6 g protein
We were smitten by the combo of cookie dough and popsicles, but then we saw Greek yogurt in the ingredient list and we knew this was going to be an endless love affair. The satiating Greek gift is bursting with bone-strengthening calcium, gut-friendly probiotics that science says improve cognitive function and belly-filling protein.
Get the recipe from Chocolate and Carrots.
GLUTEN-FREE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
Nutrition: 94 calories, 7 g fat ( 1 g saturated), 51 mg sodium, 6 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 4 g protein
If you're a PB junkie, you don't need much convincing to bite into this one. However, if you're afraid it'll ruin your body goals, you might be more pleasantly surprised. For starters, consuming peanut butter is just more satiating than most other foods—which means you consume less. But imagine cookies that could actually increase your calorie scorching potential. According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, peanuts can even increase your metabolic furnace. In that study, subjects' metabolic rate jumped by 11 percent when they ate about 500 calories of peanuts daily for 19 weeks. Speaking of metabolism, make sure you're not sabotaging with these 31 Ways You Messed Up Your Metabolism Today.
Get the recipe from Veggie Balance.
LEMON THUMBPRINT COOKIES
Nutrition: 117 calories, 8.2 g fat (3.1 g saturated), 87 mg sodium, 8.5 g carbs, 1.6 g fiber, 5.7 g sugar, 3 g protein
Whether you follow a gluten-free diet because you suffer from celiac disease or you simply avoid gluten because it makes you feel cloudy, these thumbprint cookies are an absolute treat. Rather than being full of fattening fillers, like most GF products flooding grocery store shelves, they contain coconut flour and almond meal in place of regular flour. The rest of the ingredients are wholesome and not manufactured in a lab. Not sure what the deal is with gluten? Check out these 35 Gluten-Free Questions Answered in Five Words or Less.
Get the recipe from The Skinny Fork.
SWEET POTATO TODDLER COOKIES
Nutrition: 106 calories, < 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 151 mg sodium, 23.1 g carbs, 1.1 g fiber, 1.6 g sugar, 2.7 g protein
Getting your mini-me to eat more veggies is no small feat—which is why we love recipes like this that hide a nutritional superfood inside a toddler-pleasing treat.
Get the recipe from Little House Living.
GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN COOKIES
Nutrition: 188 calories, 9.1 g fat (2.1 g saturated), 167 mg sodium, 23.1 g carbs, 1.6 g fiber, 5.2 g sugar, 3.8 g protein
If you're looking for a way to maintain your summer glow, pumpkins are your new BFF, thanks to their fat-soluble pigments called carotenoids. Plus, with more fiber and protein than sugar, the gourd is a natural appetite suppressant. And it might help you get to the gym more often: After running a series of animal tests, Taiwanese researchers concluded that eating the squash helps fight off the production of lactic acid—the compound that's responsible for making your muscles ache the next day. While this is by no means an excuse to go in a batch of these cookies, it is one more way to get your daily pumpkin on and take advantage of the fall superfoods' surplus of health benefits.
Get the recipe from Amy In The Kitchen.
OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Nutrition: 128 calories, 3.9 g fat (2.3 g saturated), 21 mg sodium, 21.6 g carbs, 1.1 g fiber, 12.3 g sugar, 2.3 g protein
Of all the plethora of chocolate chip cookie recipes, we choose this one. Here's why: no white flour, no sugar, and just two tablespoons of real butter in the entire batch. Plus, they're made with calorie-scorching cinnamon and belly-slimming oats. This is one cookie that'll nix your cookie monster craving without undermining your body goals.
Get the recipe from The Food Charlatan.
TWO INGREDIENT BANANA COCONUT COOKIES
Nutrition: 79 calories, 5.1 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 3 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 2.1 g fiber, 4.5 g sugar, 1 g protein
Bananas, unsweetened coconut flakes, a food processor, and a baking sheet. Doesn't get much simpler than that.
Get the recipe from Fresh Planet Flavor.
HEALTHY CINNAMON CARROT COOKIES
Nutrition: 99 calories, 6.3 g fat (4.9 g saturated), 21.5 mg sodium, 9.1 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2.6 g sugar, 1.7 g protein
Carrots are widely known for their vision-protecting reputation, but they actually have a lot more to offer. The orange veggie boosts immunity, promotes vibrant skin, reduces cholesterol, boosts oral health, protects the heart, improves digestion, increases cardiovascular health, and detoxifies the body, thanks to a plethora of vitamins and minerals. It's not that often you can bite into a cookie and feel this good about it.
Get the recipe from Baking Ginger.
APPLE PIE COOKIES
Nutrition: 111 calories, 4.7 g fat (3 g saturated), 120 mg sodium, 17.5 g carbs, 1.3 g fiber, 4.3 g sugar, 2 g protein
It's almost that time of year when we are filling our baskets with the freshly picked forbidden fruit—and the pie isn't too far behind. Apples are packed with antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytonutrients that can help ward off everything from cancer and diabetes to heart disease. While America's favorite dessert doesn't have the most slender rep, eating it in cookie form allows for effortless portion control. Not to mention, this recipe definitely beats the one on McDonald's Menu.
Get the recipe from OMG Chocolate Desserts.
SKINNY SUGAR COOKIE BITES
Nutrition: 78.1 calories, 2.6 g fat (0 g saturated), 39.2 mg sodium, 12.1 g carb, 1.3 g fiber, 3.7 g sugar, 2.2 g protein
Throwing a dinner party and afraid cookies will be a huge bore? These bite sized ones are fancy AF and just 78 calories a piece. Your guests will thank you.
Get the recipe from The Skinny Fork.
PEANUT BUTTER CHIA BREAKFAST COOKIES
Nutrition: 222 calories, 14.4 g fat (5.2 g saturated), 115 mg sodium, 17.9 g carbs, 2.3 g fiber, 6.8 g sugar, 7 g protein
Calling all cardio queens (and kings): Chia seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation in the body. And if you ingest them pre-workout they can help to keep you hydrated and fueled, thanks to their ability to absorb up to 10 times their weight in liquid! Munch on one of these breakfast cookies one to two hours prior to your sweat sesh and you just might get in a better workout. And while you're at it, check out these 25 Best Foods for a Toned Body.
Get the recipe from Back To The Book Nutrition.
CHOCOLATE SMORE COOKIES
Nutrition: 130 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated), 51 mg sodium, 25.4 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, 22 g sugar, 2 g protein
"Fudgy, chocolatey and super chewy" are screeching alarms to any dieters' ears—except this time. And all it took was six wholesome ingredients to create a dessert that doesn't take any corners and won't unravel your weightloss goals.
Get the recipe from Deliciously Yum.
CHAI SPICE SNICKERDOODLES
Nutrition: 144 calories, 3.9 g fat (2.2 g saturated), 105 mg sodium, 25.2 g carbs, < 1 g fiber, 12.7 g sugar, 2.5 g protein
Tummy-calming ginger, inflammation-reducing cloves, gut-friendly cardamom and cinnamon, which has been shown to speed up metabolism come together to create the perfect chai flavor for these snickerdoodle cookies. And at just 144 calories per two cookie serving, you can actually enjoy dessert without the lingering guilt.
Get the recipe from Amy's Healthy Baking.
FLOURLESS DARK CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY ALMOND BUTTER OATMEAL COOKIES
Nutrition: 220 calories, 11.5 g fat (2.1 g saturated), 142 mg sodium, 25.6 g carbs, 3.2 g fiber, 11.8 g sugar, 6 g protein
PB&J in cookie form with dark chocolate—who needs convincing here? This recipe will combat stress, cravings, and hunger, all while whittling your waist. In fact, according to the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the dark, velvety treat decreases body fat, thanks to flavanols (or plant-based nutrients) in dark chocolate. And because chronic stress causes your body to release hunger-inducing cortisol, you can actually fight its effects by nibbling on the dark stuff regularly, according to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research. We're in.
Get the recipe from The Baker Mama.
PALEO COCONUT FLOUR CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Nutrition: 119 calories, 8.5 g fat (2 g saturated), 10 mg sodium, 9.8 g carbs, 1.7 g fiber, 7.4 g sugar, 3.5 g protein
The Paleo diet omits legumes on the belief that Paleolithic people didn't eat them—which means peanuts are out if this is your dietary lifestyle. But when it comes to nut butter, almond butter is the go-to choice. In fact, according to Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN of Middleberg Nutrition, "ounce for ounce, almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts."
Get the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.
Nutrition: (serving size is 3 cookies) 105 calories, 5.1 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 58 mg sodium, 15.2 g carbs, < 1 g fiber, 10.6 g sugar, 2 g protein
Say hello to these beautiful 35-calorie cookies. Yes, you can have three and still flaunt an admirable six-pack.
Get the recipe from Skinny Girl Standard.
CHUNKY MONKEY QUINOA BREAKFAST COOKIES
Nutrition: 202 calories, 12 g fat (2.6 g saturated), 145 mg sodium, 20.4 g carbs, 2.6 g fiber, 11.1 g sugar, 6.2 g protein
If the previous breakfast cookies didn't tickle your fancy or you simply can't fathom eating before you go sweat, this recipe is perfect for a PWO (post-workout) treat. It still contains hydrating chia seeds, along with muscle-building quinoa, potassium-rich banana, heart-healthy walnuts and stress-busting dark chocolate.
Get the recipe from Simply Quinoa.
Almond Butter Lace Cookies
Per cookie (using unsweetened almond milk): 150 calories, 10.3 g fat, 1.0 g saturated fat, 3 mg sodium, 0.9 g fiber, 7.0 g sugar, 4.0 g protein
These airy cookies are usually all butter, but this cookie recipe packs them full of protein instead. You'll get your healthy fats from the almond butter, but will mostly just notice how indulgent these taste. Just try to remember to share! And now that you've upped your cookie game, keep the healthier baking hacks going by choosing our approved mixes featured in Best Baking Mixes: Cook This, Not That!
Get the recipe from The Simple Veganista.