Healthier Baking for the Holidays
This year due to a shorter period between Thanksgiving and Christmas and wanting a healthier option, I have decided not to bake and deliver cookies and candy to neighbors and friends. Instead I am going to bake yeast bread (whole wheat and oatmeal). I will include a jar of homemade jam with the bread. If you plan to bake this holiday season, here are some tips for making those treats healthier.
Consider reducing the fat, calories, and sodium in your favorite holiday recipes.
• To reduce fat, cut the amount in half and for the other half, substitute unsweetened applesauce, mashed bananas or pureed prunes. Use egg substitute in place of whole eggs. Use light dairy products rather than the original version.
• To reduce sugar, cut one-third to one-half of the amount in the recipe. Consider alternative sweeteners such as Splenda or stevia for sweet treats.
• To reduce sodium, cut the amount by half or eliminate completely (except in recipes that include yeast). Substitute salt with onion salt, garlic salt, celery salt and seasoning salt with onion flakes, garlic powder and herbs.
There are a number of ways to add ingredients to make holiday treats more nutritious.
• Add flax seed or oatmeal to your recipes.
• Use whole wheat flour in breads, bars, muffins, pie crusts, and cookies to turn tasty treats into satisfying sweets. I often substitute 1/3 to ½ of the all-purpose flour called for in the recipe with whole wheat flour. I do not do this when making cake as I don’t like the texture as well.
• Dried fruits add fiber and flavor to recipe favorites.
• Nuts are packed with nutrients, including heart-healthy fats, fiber and protein.
It is fun to enjoy holiday treats. Remember moderation is key during this season of many treats.