Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Healthy Snack Wednesdays: Heart Healthy Oatmeal

We made it through week one of our biggest loser style challenge! Renee and I didn't have a 'big number' on the scale at our second weigh-in, but we did have a successful first week. We stopped taking the elevator and walked up four flights of stairs instead. Lunch hour included healthy dishes and a 20 minute walk each day.  It's an 8-week challenge so what really counts is the long-term result.

Being at Boston University, there are a lot of resources available to faculty and staff. One great resource is access to the BU Nutrition and Fitness Center. They work hard to make healthy choices available on campus and to educate the University about healthier living.  One of their nutritionists came to give us a brief talk about healthy eating last week.  Inspired by their talk and some recipes they sent over, Renee and I decided to choose oats as our ingredient for this week's healthy snack.

Oats are a versatile, and healthy, ingredient! Part of the grains group on the food pyramid, they are heart healthy and rich in fiber. You can use them in every meal: oatmeal for breakfast, granola for snack, mixed into meatloaf for lunch and dinner, and as a topping for fruit crisps for dessert. There are many different choices for oats at the store. Be careful when selecting oatmeal - many of the flavored instant oatmeal packets have a lot of sugar.  Instead of getting the flavored packets you can pick up the original instant and make your own flavors. This allows you to control the amount of ingredients you add in.  A few of my favorite oatmeal mix-ins include:

-Brown sugar
-Maple syrup
-1 teaspoon of peanut butter
-Dried fruits like cranberries, cherries, or raisins
-Fruit preserves or jam
-Bananas and a few chocolate chips

For Healthy Snack Wednesday, I decided to try one of the oatmeal cookie recipes sent over from the women at Sargent Choice (at BU Nutrition and Fitness).  They are not no-calorie and no-fat cookies, but they are more nutritious and less-bad for you.  Unless of course you eat all 3-dozen at once!  The key to healthy eating is really moderation.  I find that I don't have to give up my favorite foods, I just need to eat the appropriate portion size.

These cookies have heart-healthy oats and flax seed. Flax seed adds a good dose of nutritional value to the cookies with omega-3 (good fat) and additional fiber.  I did add a little extra antioxidants to the original recipe with a few mini-dark chocolate chips. Using mini-chips gives you a little chocolate flavor in each cookie without adding too much additional sugar.  If you make 1 tablespoon sized cookies this recipe will yield 3-dozen heart healthy cookies to share with your family, friends, or co-workers.  Thanks again to Sargent Choice for the recipe and nutrition information. Please note, the nutrition information does not account for the mini-chocolate chips. I also swapped dried cherries for the raisins which might change the sugar content as well.

Heart Healthy Oatmeal Cookies
Yields 3 dozen cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups Quick oats (NOT instant or regular)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick salted butter (equal to 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1 cup dried cherries (or raisins)
1/4 cup mini-chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper
Add butter, oil, vanilla, granulated sugar and brown sugar to your mixer bowl (or large bowl)
Cream butter and sugars with a mixer until butter is smooth
Add eggs and mix until smooth
Add flour and baking soda and mix until incorporated
Add ground flax seed and mix until incorporated
Stir in oats, adding 1 cup at a time until combined
Stir in dried cherries and mini-chocolate chips

Using a greased tablespoon, drop cookie dough 2" apart onto parchment-lined baking sheet
Using your hand or the back of the spoon, press the balls of dough down, flattening them slightly
Bake for 8-11 minutes, until golden brown and the look slightly under-done
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire cooling rack, the cookies will harden after cooling

The dough will be dry and somewhat crumbly
Do not overcook the cookies. It is important to take them out of the oven when the center still seems slightly undercooked
You can also use unsalted butter and add in salt separately (I have not tried this yet for results)
The addition of orange zest would give the cookies a nice zing (Planning to try this for the next batch)
The cookies tasted better after they had cooled (and even better the second day)

Flax seeds might be something you have never bought before.  At Whole Foods you can find whole flax seeds in the bulk foods aisle.  You can also find them in the baking aisle near the flours.  Bob's Red Mill brand offers flax seed meal.  At the regular grocery store, you can look for them in the organic/natural foods aisle.  If you can only find whole flax seeds, you can grind them using your coffee grinder. The whole and ground seeds look like the photo below:

Cookie Nutrition:

How is your healthy snacking and eating going? Any tips or tricks that you use to be successful?

Now for some healthy snacking fun! Tribe Hummus and Pretzel Crisps have generously offered to giveaway healthy snacks to some lucky readers. Winners will be chosen at random using One winner will win a case (12 packs) of Pretzel Crisps in the flavor(s) of their choice. Three additional winners will win 2 vouchers for their choice of Tribe Origins Hummus. Entries due by midnight on Tuesday, January 18. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, January 19, 2011. 

You can enter up to three times (you can do any combination of the entries below):
Entry 1: Visit both of these snacks’ websites, and comment below on which flavor Pretzel Crisps and which flavor Tribe Origins Hummus you would like to try.
Entry 2: Become a fan of Pretzel Crisps and Tribe Hummus on Facebook, and leave me a comment below.
Entry 3: Tweet about the contest or mention on Facebook and leave a comment below (be sure to include @goodcookdoris, @pretzelcrisps and @tribehummus in your tweet)

Bonus entry: Leave a comment letting me know if you subscribe to the blog. If you would like to add the blog to your reader or subscribe, leave a note letting me know you did!

Full disclosure: Tribe Hummus and Pretzel Crisps are responsible for fulfillment of the contest prizes. I was not compensated for promoting this contest, except for a sample of crisps and hummus delivered by Pretzel Crisps (see last Wednesday's post for details).


  1. I love love hearty cookies like that. I'd totally prefer a cookie giveaway :)

  2. These cookies look great! You're totally right - healthy eating is about moderation, which is something I'm really working on!

  3. Cinnamon Toast Pretzel Crisps are awesome!!

  4. I suddenly have a craving for oatmeal cookies! Great post! Thanks for teaming up with us here at Sargent Choice :) Best of luck!

  5. Wow! These look delicious. Check out some other healthy snack ideas on
    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

  6. Oatmeal cookies are totally my weakness and these look great! Good luck with your challenge!

  7. The cookies look amazing! Well done! We had a lot of fun teaming up with you and SMG and helping you on your quest for good health. Thanks for the great post!

  8. those cookies look delicious. I always have a HUGE container of rolled oats in my cabinet so I always look for new ways to use it up.

  9. Like to the classic Tribe Origins Hummus but love the dill, lemon and horseradish in their regular style. Would be a good combo with some cut up farmers market veggies and pretzelcrisps.

    Great healthy cookie ideas too!

  10. Tuscan three cheese pretzel crisps sound delish, and so does spicy red pepper Tribe Hummus. Yum!

  11. The cinnamon toast pretzels sound amazing and I love the red pepper hummus!! Your cookies looks so yummy!! Thx for sharing and the giveaway!!

  12. Cookies look great! I liked Pretzel Crisps and Tribe on Facebook and checked out the websites - I'd like to try the Tuscan Three Cheese or Garlic Parmesan Pretzel Crisps or the Forty Spice hummus! Thanks!

  13. I think the Sesame Pretzel Crisps sounds divine... I love sesame in EVERYTHING. Also - these cookies look delicious! Also for Tribe I'm alsmost always a sucker for a roasted red pepper hummus. I'm classic like that ;)

  14. and tweeted. Love that you and REnee are both doing helathy snack posts!

  15. I would like to try cinnamon otast cripss and Sweet Roasted Red Peppers

    mellanhead74 at

  16. like them on fb (jd drenchek-scavo)

    mellanhead74 at

  17. Thanks for sharing your blog. I also consider eating oats in my meal. It takes care of my heart and prevents certain diseases.

  18. Thanks for sharing your blog. I also consider eating oats in my meal. It takes care of my heart and prevents certain diseases.

  19. The cookies look amazing! Well done! We had a lot of fun teaming up with you and SMG and helping you on your quest for good health. Thanks for the great post!

  20. Tuscan three cheese pretzel crisps sound delish, and so does spicy red pepper Tribe Hummus. Yum!


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