Brrr! It’s cold out—and the Arctic Vortex isn’t exactly helping our skin. What’s more, the cold also makes us crave sweets, which can get in the way of our attempts to make better food choices. But here’s a healthy and incredibly enjoyable way you can both protect your skin and satisfy your sweet tooth: this gluten-free and vegan oatmeal, prune and raisin cookie recipe.
Why It’s Prunetastic
Dried plums, with their wide array of phenolic compounds (plant nutrients that contribute to the flavor and color of produce and have potential health benefits), are rich in antioxidants. In fact, dried plums have one of the highest levels of antioxidant capacity, with more antioxidants per weight than many other foods. These antioxidants can help protect skin cells from damaging free radicals that form from outdoor exposure, which may help to guard against premature aging and wrinkle formation. Just five dried plums contain 3 grams of fiber and 30 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K, along with potassium and vitamin A.
Eat Less and Feel Full
The oatmeal in this recipe provides a good source of dietary fiber—a key player in weight loss and long-term weight maintenance. A number of studies have shown an inverse association between fiber intake and body weight. This association is likely explained by fiber’s ability to promote satiety and feelings of fullness.
Unlike store-bought cookies, there’s no added sugar or empty calories. Instead, these cookies are fabulously sweet because all of the sweet goodness comes from the natural plant sugars found in the prunes, raisins and bananas. You can easily freeze bananas that are getting over ripe and then you’ll always have them on hand to make these cookies. To make it easier, peel the bananas first and then freeze them in a plastic re-sealable bag for easy removal.
This is also a great recipe to make with your family, especially with children. Kids love to smash things, and the first step when making these cookies is to mash the bananas and then just fold in the remaining ingredients. Your family will love helping, and you’ll love knowing that these cookies are not manufactured and are good for you.
Gluten-Free, Vegan Raisin Cookies
Makes 36 cookies
3 bananas, ripe
½ cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
¼ cup pecans, toasted, chopped
¼ cup prunes, dried, pitted, no sugar added, chopped
1 cup yellow raisins
2 cups oatmeal, plain, old-fashioned whole oats
In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas with hand masher, combine and mix in canola oil, vanilla, walnuts, pecans, prunes and raisins. Add oatmeal and mix all ingredients together until well mixed. Using a 1-ounce scoop, measure and drop mixture onto parchment-covered cookie sheet. Slightly push down mixture with fingers to lightly flatten. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Remove, let cool and serve.