While improving your eating habits, there comes a point where you have to take a closer look at your pantry and decide which items are worth keeping and which ones to toss away! If you’re anything like me, Fig Newtons are probably a favorite! Who can resist that gooey sweet and salty center with the soft crumbly exterior? It’s the perfect snack for any occasion!
However, even though they are a fruit-based whole-grain snack, are Fig Newtons healthy enough to keep in your pantry? In short, while Fig Newtons are a better snacking option than the traditional chocolate chip cookies, it’s still hard to categorize them as healthy snacks because of their high sugar- content.
Even the fat- free ‘organic’ versions of Fig Newtons contain so much sugar content along with other GMOs and harmful chemicals that they are considered unhealthy.
However, I know you’re probably not eager to say goodbye to these cookies just yet, so to help make that journey easier, I’ve included some healthier alternatives to Fig Newtons in this article, along with a delicious fig newton recipe that you can try at home!
But before we get into that, let’s take a closer look at the nutritional values of Fig Newtons and let me explain why you shouldn’t restock them on your next grocery shop!
What makes Fig Newtons unhealthy?
Most people can argue that because Fig Newtons are whole grain and contain certain vitamins and minerals, they are relatively healthier to eat.
While that may be the case if they are eaten in moderation (aka 2 per serving), it’s hard to categorize them as ‘healthy snacks’ because of their excessive use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Ingredients).
These ingredients include added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, soy lecithin, and sodium benzoate, etc.
Although some of these ingredients such as Sodium Benzoate (a preservative) are found in many other packaged products, they are still bad for your health when consumed excessively.
Let’s take a closer look at Fig Newton’s sugar content which is what makes these cookies particularly unhealthy.
High sugar content
Fig Newtons contain about 12g of added sugar, which is equal to eating about 3 teaspoons of sugar.
While the 3 teaspoons don’t look too bad on their own, they do look awfully dangerous when they rise to 12, which is exactly what happens if you eat up to 8 cookies in a day.
Eating excessive amounts of sugar can lead to health problems such as tooth decay, weight gain, heart disease, etc.
High fructose corn syrup
Along with added sugar, Fig Newtons contain high fructose corn syrup which is considered to be even worse than added sugar.
This is because it contains fructose which is harder for your body to use for energy.
It can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, inflammation, and even cancer when consumed excessively!
To get a better idea of where Fig Newtons lie on the nutrition scale, look at this comparison of Fig Newtons with some of the most popular cookies.
This comparison is based on the calorie count, sugar, fat, sodium, and protein content of each cookie.
Fig Newtons are better than:
- Keebler Coconut Dreams
- Nabisco Nilla Wafers
- Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano
- Chips Ahoy Chewy
- Oatmeal Creme Pies
Fig Newtons are less healthy than:
- Kashi Chocolate Almond Butter
- Udi’s gluten-free chocolate chip cookies
- Nabisco Ginger Snaps
- Walkers Shortbread Fingers
Here’s a table that summarizes the calorie count, fat, and carbohydrate content in each cookie for easier comparison.
|Cookie Brand||Calories per serving||Total fat/g||Carbs/g|
|Keebler Coconut Dreams||180||7||25|
|Nabisco Nilla Wafers||140||6||21|
|Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano||130||12||20|
|Chips Ahoy Chewy||140||6||21|
|Oatmeal Creme Pies||170||7||53|
|Kashi Chocolate Almond Butter||130||5||19|
|Udi’s gluten-free chocolate chip cookies||100||6||16|
|Nabisco Ginger Snaps||120||2.5||23|
|Walkers Shortbread Fingers||100||6||11|
What are healthy alternative snacks to Fig Newtons?
Adopting a healthier diet does not mean that you have to fill up snack times with fresh fruits and veggies or tasteless crackers!
Even if you have to say goodbye to some of your favorite sugary snacks, there are still plenty of delicious healthier options to take their place.
Whether you prefer fig- based snacks or crunchy snack bars, here are some of my favorite healthier alternatives to Fig Newtons!
1. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars
If you’re looking for that authentic fig flavor, Nature’s Bakery fig bars are the perfect healthy alternatives to Fig Newtons because they use more natural ingredients.
Whereas Fig Newtons are loaded with fats and GMOs, these fig bars are made of non- GMO ingredients and contain 0% saturated fat or Trans-fat.
Adding to their benefits, they are also vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free for those of you who are allergic to nuts or gluten.
2. Organic Sun- dried Figs
Dried figs do more than just serve as a substitute for your Fig Newton cravings!
They are very high in minerals such as potassium, calcium, and iron along with dietary fibers which are great for your health.
Eliminating added sugar and gluten completely, a handful of these are usually enough to fill you up when you feel like munching on something during those lazy afternoons.
If you’re a fan of chocolate then these flavored, textured chocolate bars are a great snacking option for you.
They are made up of non-GMO ingredients and dark chocolate which is healthier as compared to milk chocolate because it contains less sugar.
4. Raw Crunch Bars
Although these don’t contain figs, these healthy nutrition bars are a great, delicious snacking option for those of you who like crunchy snacks!
They are a little bit more expensive than your usual snacks, however, they contain omega 3 and are made of non- GMO organic ingredients.
These bars are gluten and dairy-free, but they do contain nuts so you might want to skip out on these if you are allergic to them!
If your craving for Fig Newtons is simply not satisfied with other alternatives, this recipe of healthy homemade Fig Newtons is perfect for you!
In this recipe, I’ve replaced a few basic ingredients such as all-purpose flour, eggs, and sugar with healthier alternatives which are oat- flour, applesauce, and stevia sweetener.
So without any further ado, let’s get on with this delicious recipe!
There are two components to this recipe; the fig jam and the cookie dough.
The Fig Jam
For the jam, you’ll need dried figs (2 cups), orange juice (¼ cup), water (¼ cup), a pinch of salt, and Stevia sweetener (1 to 2 tbsp).
Orange juice is preferred because it provides a more authentic Fig Newton flavor; however, you can also replace it with apple juice and a bit of fresh lemon juice!
Add all these ingredients into a saucepan and let the figs soak for about an hour.
Next, transfer the saucepan over to the stove. Cook your mixture on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes or until the figs turn very soft.
If the mixture seems too dry, feel free to add a little more water to prevent the figs from burning before they turn soft.
Once the figs are soft enough to mash easily, turn off the heat and let them cool.
Then, you can either mash the mixture by hand or transfer it to a food processor.
The result should be a relatively thick paste which will resemble the fig filling in Fig Newtons.
For the dough, you’ll need oat flour (2 cups), Stevia Sweetener (2-3 tbsp), baking powder (1tsp), ground cinnamon or cardamom (½ tsp), salt (¼ tsp), unsweetened apple sauce (¼ cup), melted coconut oil (2 tbsp), water (2-3 tbsp) and vanilla extract (1 tsp).
First, put all your dry ingredients in one bowl and mix well. These include the flour, sweetener, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt.
Next, put your wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.
Then, dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until it starts to form dough.
Once the dough is formed, roll it into a plastic wrap and place it into the fridge for about 30- 40 minutes.
Putting it together and baking
Before rolling out your dough, preheat your oven to 350 F or about 175 Degrees Celsius.
Once the dough is chilled, take it out of the fridge, place it onto plastic wrap, and cut it into equal sections.
Taking one of the sections, gently roll it into a thin log. Be careful when handling this dough because it is very crumbly!
Place another piece of plastic wrap on top of your log.
Next, use a rolling pin to gently flatten out the log between the plastic wraps.
The dough should be rolled out into a thin rectangle that’s about 4 to 5 inches wide.
Once it’s rolled out, remove the top layer of plastic and start piping the fig filling down the center of the dough.
After that, lift each side of the dough and place it over the center filling, making sure to overlap the sides in the center.
Then, simply cut the log formed into cookies and transfer them to a silicon baking tray.
These cookies will take about 10 to 15 minutes to bake at 350 F.
Make sure to store your homemade Fig Newtons in an airtight container if you want them extra chewy!
Related Asked Questions:
Q) Are Fig Newtons a good snack for kids?
As long as you’re not giving your kids more than 2- 3 cookies, Fig Newtons are a very suitable snack for kids, especially when compared to other cookies such as Oreos, because they are a tad bit healthier.
Q) Do Fig Newtons help with weight loss?
Fig Newtons don’t help with weight loss, rather they do the complete opposite. Because Fig Newtons are packed with sugar, they promote weight gain.
If you’re looking for healthy snacks to eat during your weight loss journey, look at the list of healthy alternative snacks I’ve mentioned above!
At the end of the day, even if you really love figs, rather than snacking on a few Fig Newtons each day, it’s better to make your own healthier version instead (recipe given above).
However, if cooking isn’t your forte, my next best recommendation would be the Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars which taste just as delicious as Fig Newtons without leading to a complete malfunction of your bodily health!