The Trap of Clean-Eating Treats

by Sally on March 27, 2014

The Trap of "Clean-Eating" Treats by Real Mom Nutrition

I’m a little bit worried about the words “healthy” and “clean”. Because I’m seeing them everywhere on social media in relation to dessert: There are recipes for Healthy Peppermint Patties. Clean Cookie Dough Blizzards. Healthy Clean-Eating Double-Chocolate Brownies with Marshmallow and Bacon Hot Fudge Sauce. Okay, I made up that last one. You get the idea.

Don’t get me wrong: I love seeing so many recipes with non- or minimally-processed ingredients. I use things like whole wheat flour and flaxseed in my own recipes too. And I enjoy experimenting with recipes that use, say, dates instead of sugar like the cookies above (read: “Simple No Bake Cookie Balls“).

But I worry because recipes using so-called “clean” ingredients seem to be getting a free pass lately as healthy and nourishing no matter what they actually are. A peanut butter cup made with coconut oil is still a peanut butter cup. When you’re eating raw vegan cookie dough bites, you’re still eating, well, balls of cookie dough.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with dessert in my book–even every day. I love dessert. But goodies like these can easily become a problem if we’re eating or serving them more frequently (or in larger portions) because we perceive them as particularly wholesome. I’ll admit I’m guilty of doing that (read: “Too Much of a Good Thing: Why Calories Still Count.”).

Bottom line: We can serve our family “clean” snickerdoodle cream pie, but even if it’s made with agave and raw cashews, kids still need to understand that pie is a sweet treat. And so do we.


{Recipe} Banana Oat Nut Bites

by Sally on May 28, 2013

Recently, I was lucky enough to have a fabulous intern for a week. Megan Gutierrez, who is working toward her Master’s degree in dietetics, helped me transform some of my recipes into blog posts (like my husband’s favorite “Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Tart“). She was so good at it, I asked her to write a couple of her own! Here’s the first of two:

When I’m craving something sweet, I turn to this recipe for an easy cookie fix. Although some recipes like this blend all of the ingredients together before baking, this version lets you add different kinds of toppings right before baking. You can get your kids involved by letting them mix the batter and add their favorite toppings to.

[Tip: To make sure you always have bananas on hand, save your ripe bananas by removing the peels and wrapping in plastic wrap to keep in your freezer for a few months. Then  just remove from the freezer, unwrap and place on a plate, & defrost for 1 minute in the microwave.]

Banana Oat Nut Bites
Serves: Makes 12-15 bite-size cookies
  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 1 cup oats
  • ¼ cup almond meal (or grind sliced or whole almonds in a food processor)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen berries (optional)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine bananas, oats, almond meal, and cinnamon and stir until well-combined.
  3. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Using a tablespoon, scoop out batter and form into a 1-inch ball on baking sheet.
  5. If you want, add your choice of toppings such as fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, or chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes.



Junk Food’s Cool Factor: Can Mom Compete?

January 18, 2013

My mom tells a story about eating lunch at school as a little girl—and being embarrassed by the homemade cookies my grandma had packed for her. The rest of the kids had store-bought cookies. And even though my grandma’s cookies probably tasted 100 times better than those packaged treats, she wanted theirs instead. I think […]

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Simple No Bake Cookie Balls

August 24, 2012

When you’re hankering for something sweet–but don’t feel like turning on the oven or spending a bunch of time in the kitchen–I’ve got four words for you: No Bake Cookie Balls. I already love these Peanut Butter Balls. But I recently discovered three delicious-looking cookie ball recipes from Snack Girl. So I made them all, one […]

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4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

April 23, 2012

The best part about making cookies is, in my opinion, eating the dough. I know it’s not right. Or safe for that matter. Yet I do it anyway. That’s why I love these cookies: They taste like peanut butter cookie dough, even after they’re baked. And they only contain four ingredients–all of which you probably have right […]

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A Radical Suggestion for Holiday Eating

November 23, 2011

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving–and the official start of the holiday party circuit. Worried about overeating your way into 2012? You should be.  A lot of us treat the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve as one big excuse to eat reindeer-shaped frosted sugar cookies for breakfast. Worried about your kids? You don’t have to be. […]

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The Case for Oreos

July 20, 2011

On my Sunday perusal through the coupon circulars, I came across an advertisement for a new product that stopped me in my tracks. WhoNu? cookies may look a lot like Oreos but according to the ad, they pack as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal, as much vitamin C as a cup of blueberries, […]

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The Yummiest (& Easiest) Summer Cookie Ever

June 29, 2011

Let’s pause for a moment in the discussion of healthy sports snacks and eating seasonally and talk cookies. Because while kids shouldn’t be given packages of cookies just for standing around a baseball diamond for 45 minutes, kids should still eat cookies. Especially when they’re made by mom. Around here, we call these Icebox Cookies […]

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