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Healthy Dish

Smart Cookies

Yum! Coconut and cocoa are a match made in cookie heaven.

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If you’re looking for a healthier snack, you’re in luck. These easy-to-make, no-bake cookies are far more nutritious than any sweet treat has a right to be!

Just look at the ingredients. Coconut oil, one of my all time favorites, is loaded with healthy fats known as MCTs (see “Featured Nutrient,” below). Cocoa has long been praised for its flavanols, which have been associated with lower blood pressure and a lowered risk for cardiovascular disease. Peanut butter is a smart fat that’s also packed with fiber and protein. And oats are a good source of fiber as well.

Just about the only “questionable” ingredient in this recipe is the relatively small amount of honey, which actually won’t raise your blood sugar too much because it has a pretty moderate glycemic load of only 10. Plus, all the fat and fiber in the other ingredients will help prevent sharp rises in blood sugar, and real, raw, organic honey contains natural enzymes, minerals, and antioxidants. That said, if you’re watching your sugar intake very carefully, Chef Jeanette has a great suggestion for a substitute: inulin fiber.

Dr. Jonny

View Recipe: Cocoa-nut Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

Notes from the Clean Food Coach

Natural peanut butter comes in many consistencies. Some brands are loose and wet while others are thick and a little dry. If your peanut butter is runny, you may want to decrease the coconut oil content by one or two tablespoons to compensate. Conversely, if your peanut butter is very dry, try liquefying your coconut oil completely before adding to the recipe-it should be gently warm, not hot.

Featured Nutrient:Medium Chain Triglycerides

Coconut oil is a great source of a kind of fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which is popular with competitive bodybuilders. Why? Because the body likes to burn MCTs as opposed to storing them, and bodybuilders need the calories for energy but can’t afford to put even a drop of fat on their shredded frames.

But that’s just the beginning of the benefits of MCTs. One of the most accepted treatments for childhood epilepsy is a high-fat diet, and MCT oil is almost always the preferred form of fat in such treatments. It’s also good for the brain, and good for energy.

You can buy MCT oil in the “swirl” formulation made by Barlean’s. With its delicious coconut flavor, you can swig it right out of the bottle (it really is that good) or supplement with a tablespoon per day-it goes great in shakes.