Cookie exchange parties (or “cookie swaps”) are a long-standing holiday tradition for many people, but the COVID-19 pandemic made gathering in large groups unsafe. As vaccination rates rise and social distancing regulations are relaxed, we may be able to meet with friends and families for the first time in a while. So it may be the perfect opportunity to participate in a cookie swap!
This is not your average holiday party. Cookie swaps are a tradition in which guests bake a wide variety of cookies and then come together to sample the treats and exchange recipes. Guests will arrive with their own batch of cookies and will leave with dozens of different varieties to try!
Cookie exchanges, like any holiday tradition, serve a higher purpose than just going home with baked goods. This is a chance for family, friends, and the community to come together which is especially after the past two years. Traditions help build stability, especially during a pandemic where there is so much uncertainty. Regardless of whatever else is happening, family and friends can look forward to and count on participating in their cookie swap to help provide a distraction from life’s stress.
Traditions also help build trust and unity within the community. Cookie swaps bring the community together in which they experience something bigger than themselves. They provide a sense of belonging and also allow the bakers the opportunity to build connections with their past. This exchange provides people with the ability to use and share family and cultural recipes that go back to their ancestors. This holiday tradition brings the community together in which everyone and every recipe is welcomed.
While it may be a strange time to participate in community activities, there are still ways to do it safely. The CDC recommends that in order to protect the population that is not yet eligible for vaccination, such as young children, it is important to get yourself vaccinated.
For indoor events, it is important for not fully vaccinated individuals to wear a well-fitted mask that covers their nose and mouth. If you are not feeling well before your upcoming cookie swap, please don’t host or attend any gatherings to help decrease the incidence of COVID-19. Additionally, always practice proper hygiene by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with hot water and soap. This is especially important when baking for other people.
Now more than ever, it’s important we take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and the people around us while still enjoying the holidays. For more COVID-19 wellness tips, we recommend our blog on the topic.
While the holidays are a time of joy and celebration, they are also a time when dieting, guilt, and pressure to avoid weight gain enter into the conversation. However, it is still possible to ditch the diet mentality during the holidays, enjoy the traditions, and still be healthy.
We recently published a blog with some tips to avoid holiday stress. One of those tips is to make healthy additions and swaps in your baking, so let’s explore some additional ways to implement those!
- Oats and whole wheat flour are whole grains. By substituting white flour for whole wheat flour or incorporating oats into the recipe, the cookie will become rich in fiber and antioxidants. High fiber ingredients provide beneficial impacts such as lowering blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels while promoting a healthy gut and increasing satiety (2).
- Dried fruits are an excellent source of a variety of vitamins and minerals as well as a small amount of fiber. In general, they’re associated with improved health. An easy and delicious recipe that not only incorporates oats, but dried fruit is oatmeal raisin cookies!
- Nuts, nut butters, and seeds are a great way to increase the protein and healthy fat content in your recipe. For example, a white chocolate chip cookie recipe can be upgraded by adding macadamia nuts which provide protein and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. For other heart-conscious desserts, check out this recipe here.
It may seem strange to talk at length about cookies when we are a company that promotes health. However, the Longevity Diet is about more than just food! Making time to participate in your favorite holiday traditions is an important part of emotional and mental health. We also value spending time and building a strong bond with your community. If that means participating in your traditional cookie swap, we support you! And if you still need a recipe for an upcoming cookie, check out our healthy holiday brownies!
Have a happy, relaxing, and most importantly safe holiday everyone!