I've been adapting some of these recipes to make them just a wee bit more healthy. That usually includes replacing shortening with butter and adding whole grains. They still contain sugar and aren't really health food but I'm at least making an attempt. We will be eating enough rich food over the holidays without me making it at home, too.
A reader sent me her tip for using more whole grains. She said I could share it with you if I didn't use her name. I've learned so much from her, that I wish she'd start her own blog!
After reading this several months ago, I ground some millet and amaranth together and have kept it in the freezer. When baking cookies, I would replace about a third of the whole wheat flour with the multi-grain mixture. I honestly couldn't tell a difference in taste. I'm hoping to do some more experimenting. If you have a grain grinder, give it a try. Some of these alternative grains are more expensive but very nutritious.
I keep a mix of different grains that I grind myself to use instead of all whole wheat, in anything except yeast breads. I use some wheat, brown rice, millet, amaranth, quinoa and sometimes rye, barley or oats. I grind it all together, putting the tiny grains on top of bigger ones to keep from plugging up the grinder. We especially like the brown rice in baked things like cookies as it has a good grainy taste. White rice gets gritty when ground. I feel it is healthier to use a wider variety of grains than just wheat and oats.
If you use some alternative grains in baking, I'd love to hear your tips.