Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
Decorate your healthy Christmas cookies with festive natural ingredients.
Decorating gingerbread cookies with kids is a sweet holiday tradition, but it can seem a little less so when you start reading the ingredient labels of commercial decorations—many contain artificial colorings and additives. If you’re committed to feeding your family naturally and organically, start at your local natural foods store, where you’ll find possibilities from organic powdered sugar (make a simple royal icing by mixing sugar with a little water) to colorful fruit leathers to cut into shapes. Other options include tiny dried currants or dried blueberries for eyes and buttons, shredded coconut, raw sugar (just the right tawny color to sprinkle on reindeer), sunflower or sesame seeds, and chopped nuts, which can be placed either before baking or after icing.
Many stores stock decorative candies made with less refined sugars as well as food colorings based on vegetable sources. “Artificial colors may be derived from petrochemicals, so they’re not something we want to ingest or introduce into the environment or sprinkle on our cookies if we can help it,” says Dawn Van Hee, the founder of NaturalCandyStore, which stocks a variety of natural and organic candies and decorations made without artificial ingredients. “Candy may never qualify as health food, but it doesn’t have to be junk food, either.” Van Hee says there are now more options than ever for decorating without additives, making this year the perfect time to start a tradition of making holiday treats that are better for the whole family.
See also Vegan Sugar Cookies
Where to Find Decorations for Healthy Christmas Cookies
- For natural-colored sugar sprinkles and food colorings derived from vegetable sources, visit indiatree.
- For natural and organic decorations, including candy canes and sprinkles, visit naturalcandystore. For a gingerbread person in Tree Pose cookie cutter, visit coppergifts.