3 Remarkable Cookie Recipes That Don’t Contain Sugar (And Are Gluten-Free) - Save Our Bones

It’s nice to indulge in sweet treats at any time of year, but they’re particularly comforting in the cold winter months. Add a hot cup of herbal tea or coffee, and an afternoon can become postcard perfect. But sugary snacks spike your glucose levels, causing an avalanche of negative consequences, including damaging your bones.

Fortunately, you can make a delicious batch of cookies perfect for a sweet treat that doesn’t include any added sugar. In fact, the three recipes you’ll get in today’s article contain ingredients that have been shown to lower blood glucose levels, and they’re gluten-free.

We’ll look at the science behind how these wondrous foods accomplish that feat, and how to make the most of their bone-building effects.

Avoid Glucose Spikes

When you eat foods with a high sugar content, your blood glucose level quickly increases. Your pancreas then releases insulin, which allows your cells to uptake the glucose, restoring balance in the bloodstream.

The process is vital for fueling our cells, but when it happens too rapidly, with significant waves of glucose followed by a matching wave of insulin, it takes a toll on the body. Postprandial (after meals) spikes in glucose and insulin trigger an inflammatory
response, and result in cell damage and a significant increase in fracture risk.1

Additionally, studies have shown that these spikes also lead to an increased risk of dementia, diabetes, stroke, and heart attack.2,3,4 Plus sugar is highly acidifying, causing a break down of bone tissue to release alkalizing minerals such as calcium, in an attempt to increase the serum pH. 5

Sugar also reduces levels of magnesium and copper in the body. Your bones need both minerals to stay flexible and strong.6,7 Clearly, to maintain good health and protect your bones, it is important to avoid sugar and maintain steady blood glucose levels. Here are two foods scientifically-proven to help you achieve that goal.


Blood glucose spikes trigger spikes in insulin. The combined effect of this cycle increases health risks, including bone loss.

Almonds Are Shown To Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition compared the impact of five different meals on blood glucose, insulin, and antioxidant levels among men and women aged 19 to 52. Each participant received five meals, one which featured 60 grams (or about ¼ cup) of almonds.8

The almond meal lowered glucose, insulin, and oxidative damage
in the participants. The researchers suggested that this might help explain the mechanism by which nuts are known to decrease the risk of cardiovascular heart disease. The same combination of effects also protects bone health.

Plus almonds are delicious, help to balance cholesterol levels, and are an excellent alkalizing source of protein and potassium.


Almonds have been shown to regulate blood sugar levels, preventing damaging glucose and insulin spikes.

Cinnamon Reduces Fasting Blood Glucose Levels

Cinnamon is a classic winter spice that comes with a big perk: it lowers fasting blood glucose levels by increasing the body’s response to insulin in the muscles and liver. This heightened sensitivity is the opposite of insulin resistance and stabilizes your blood sugar levels.

A study conducted with participants with Type 2 diabetes examined the effect of taking a placebo, or one, three, or six grams of cinnamon each day for 40 days. The researchers found that all three groups who were eating cinnamon every day experienced lower fasting blood glucose levels, regardless of the amount.9

Combine that with the benefits of almonds, and these are the perfect cookies for making your taste buds happy while keeping your sugar levels stable.


Cinnamon has been shown to lower fasting blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Apple Fig Cookies

20-24 cookies


  • 1 cup chopped figs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly spread some oil on it.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and water, allowing a few minutes for it to gel.
  4. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Form into small balls, flatten, and place on the cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until they turn golden brown.

No-Bake Carrot Apple Cookies

12 cookies


  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup grated apple
  • 4 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup mashed sweet potatoes, cooked
  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (adjust to achieve desired texture)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped


  1. Mix the flaxseed with water and set aside for a few minutes until mixture thickens.
  2. In a large bowl mix oats, water and flaxseed mixture, and cinnamon. Add in grated carrot and apple.
  3. In another bowl combine sweet potato, almond butter, and banana. Stir into the dry mixture.
  4. Slowly pour the almond milk until a dry but slightly sticky texture is reached.
  5. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.
  6. Form the mixture into 12 cookies and place on a cookie sheet.
  7. Place cookie sheet in freezer for approximately 20 minutes or until the cookies harden.
  8. Remove from freezer and store in the refrigerator.

Banana Quinoa Chocolate Cookies

8-10 Servings


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dried blueberries or cherries (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl, mash the bananas, then add the eggs, dried fruit, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa and almond flour into the bowl. Then fold in the chocolate chips, and mix the entire contents of the bowl.
  5. Form each cookie using 2 tablespoons of batter, and place it on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Make one batch, or try all three. They’ll stay fresh up to two weeks when refrigerated, or you can keep them frozen for several months. That way, the next time you find yourself craving a comforting treat to ward away the winter blues, you’ll have a bone-healthy option ready and waiting!

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1 Barbour KE, Boudreau R, Danielson ME, et al. “Inflammatory markers and the risk of hip fracture: the Women’s Health Initiative.” J Bone Miner Res.. 2012;27:1167-1176.

2 Fowler GC, Vasudevan DA. Type 2 diabetes mellitus: managing hemoglobin A(1c) and beyond. South Med J. 2010;103(9):911-6.

3 Madsbad S. Impact of postprandial glucose control on diabetes-related complications: How is the evidence evolving? J Diabetes Complications. 2016;30(2):374-85.

4 Gerich JE. Clinical significance, pathogenesis, and management of postprandial hyperglycemia. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(11): 1306-16.

5 Lawoyin, S., et al. “Bone mineral content in patients with calcium urolithiasis.” Metabolism 28:1250-1254.1979.

6 Swaminathan, R. “Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders.” The Clinical Biochemist Reviews. 2003 May; 24(2): 47-66. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1855626/

7 Wapnir, RA and Devas, G. “Copper deficiency: interaction with high-fructose and high-fat diets in rats.” The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Inc. January 1995. Vol. 61 no. 1; 105-110. Web. https://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/61/1/105.abstract

8 David J.A. Jenkins et. al. “Almonds Decrease Postprandial Glycemia, Insulenemia, and Oxidative Damage in Healthy Individuals.” The Journal of Nutrition. 136: 2987–2992, 2006. Web. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/19a6/db4703187353b5e295004cef8768ffa82441.pdf

9 Khan, Alam, MS, PhD, et al. “Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care. December 2003. Vol. 26 No. 123215-3218. Doi: 10.2337/diacare.26.12.3215. Web. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/12/3215.full

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Mary

    Hi Vivian,
    I made the Banana Quinoa Chocolate cookies and they are good but very soft. I followed the recipe to a tee. Was the batter supposed to be so liquidy?

    Also, I just read an article by the Environmental Working Group stating that Quaker Oats and Cheerios all contain high levels of glyphosate, an herbicide linked to cancer. I am now buying organic oats. I thought you might want to tell your readers to use organic oats.

    Thanks for your wonderful program.

  2. Joan

    Have just made No Bake Carrots Apple Cookies will let you know how they turn out.
    Can I keep some in frieezer I found a lot of work to it but if they turn out well it will be worth it.
    Just wondering can I use coconut flour instead of almond flour in the chocolate cookies.
    Thank you Joan.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Good job! Let us know how they turn out.

      As we wrote at the end of the post “They’ll stay fresh up to two weeks when refrigerated, or you can keep them frozen for several months.”

      And if you replace almond flour with coconut flour, you should add about 1/4 cup almond milk (adjust to achieve a desirable consistency), since coconut flour absorbs more liquids.


      • Joan

        My apple cookies where lovely had them fr breakfast with avacoda
        @ blueberries @ an egg on top.Going to make the Quinoas ones to day.
        Yes I’d just seen your post about freezing them after I emailed you so that’s great thanks for getting back to me.
        Regards Joan.

  3. Kim

    These sound yummy! Quick question about the apple fig cookies. Are the figs in the recipe the dried variety or fresh? It is hard for me to find fresh figs these days…Thanks!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Both fresh and dried figs work, Kim.

  4. Suzan Lowitz

    Where does one find dark chocolate chips with no sugar? The Banana Quinoa Chocolate Chip recipe sounds delicious, except for the sugary chips.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Chocolate chips made of dark chocolate, often with no sugar added, are found in many grocery stores. You can also buy them online 🙂

  5. Jane

    I have a wonderful recipe for vegan muffins with oats, peanut butter and bananas.
    Is this bone-healthy? It has no added sugar but some maple syrup.

  6. Marti Cuevas

    As Nora above, I am allergic to nuts – please provide nut-free recipes!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      We will keep this in mind, Nora.

  7. Nora

    What’s the next best alternative for folks who cannot eat almond products. Almonds are toxic to me. Thank you.

  8. Amanda

    Info for healthy bones
    And recipes for diabetes

  9. Luis South

    Rethink what you say about baking strategies that rely on healthy produce like ginger, carrots, cinnamon, etc. Oven heat defeats the purpose of the nutrient value in these kind of ingredients. To maximize nutrient values and taste consider smoothies instead.

  10. Joan

    Hi penny Ann I made these last night but there was no eggs in the recipe
    At least I did not see any egg in them just letting you know
    Regards Joan

  11. Penny-Anne Beaudoin

    That sounds great!

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