Cookie Baking Substitutions for Dietary Restrictions

November was for pie, but December is for cookies.

Almost 20,000 cookies are eaten in an average American’s adulthood, which is more than 300 cookies a year – a number that is, embarrassingly, believable. One of the most beloved treats in the U.S. and Europe for hundreds of years, these small pieces of heaven are easy to eat, easy to transport and are made in a widest variety of mouthwatering flavors.

Every December 4th, Americans pay homage to this sweet favorite by baking, buying, sharing and, of course, eating cookies. National Cookie Day was created by the Blue Chip Cookie Company, which started in San Francisco in 1983 and whose company motto is “Best cookies in the country.”

National Cookie Day is a national holiday worth indulging. However, many people have special dietary needs that leave them unable to eat traditional cookies. But have no fear: with a few baking substitutions, people with dietary restrictions can still celebrate their love for cookies.


There are so many diabetes-friendly cookie recipes available online and they all sound delicious! Replace the sugar in the recipe with a sugar substitute, such as a Splenda blend. Think outside the box and add a limited amount of dried cherries, raisins, shredded coconut, peanut butter or other yummy ingredients to add more flavor or sweetness to the recipe.


Many vegans are also excellent bakers, but in case vegan baking is out of your comfort zone, we have you covered. Opt for vegan butter or coconut oil instead of normal butter (both are found at most grocery stores). Almond milk, coconut milk, pumpkin puree and applesauce can be used instead of eggs.


It’s quite easy to make gluten-free baked goods. Swap regular flour for organic coconut flour, almond flour, almond meal or gluten-free rolled oats.


Vegan butter is increasingly common amongst grocery stores. Use this dairy-free butter in the cookie recipe and, if you’re craving classic chocolate chip cookies, use vegan dark chocolate bits to replace chocolate chips.


It isn’t a challenge to make cookies safe for those with nut allergies. Most importantly, stay away from any ingredients with packaging that says it was produced in a facility with nuts. Snickerdoodle cookies, carrot cake oatmeal cookies and even basic chocolate chip cookies are some examples of nut-free recipes.


The paleo diet is hailed as one of the healthiest, but that doesn’t mean that paleo-friendly cookies don’t taste good. Swap regular flour for almond flour, butter for coconut oil, sugar for maple syrup or coconut sugar and brown sugar for molasses.

Although cookies are delicious, they should be consumed in moderation. Consider some of the above ingredient exchanges for healthier, guilt-free cookies, even if you or your family doesn’t have dietary restrictions. For more health-related food tips and recipes, check out Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles.

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