Can Holiday Baking Be Healthy?

Enjoy your favorite holiday treats with less guilt by using these healthier ingredients.

When you’re trying to eat healthy, it’s hard to say “no” to holiday treats. But what if you could indulge without guilt?

With a few healthy baking substitutions, you can! Here are a few to try:

Not So Much Sugar, Please!

  • If you take all the sugar out of a recipe, it will change the texture or taste, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce how much you use. Most recipes still taste great with less sugar than what the recipe calls for. Try eliminating 1/4 of what’s suggested to see how it affects taste – chances are you’ll hardly notice a difference.
  • Use pureed fruit, such as bananas or dates, in place of some of the sugar in your recipes. You may taste the fruit, so make sure the taste works with your recipe.

Goodbye Fat!

  • Swap some of the oil or butter in recipes for unsweetened applesauce, yogurt, pumpkin puree or avocado. Applesauce can replace fat at a 1:1 ratio in muffins, cakes and quick breads. Instead of 1 cup of oil or butter, use ½ cup combined with ¼ cup of plain yogurt.
  • Full-fat dairy can be replaced with non-fat or low-fat versions without altering taste or texture in most recipes. Use fat-free milk or non-fat sour cream in place of the regular stuff. Choose evaporated skim milk over heavy whipping cream. Neufchatel cheese or pureed low-fat cottage cheese can replace cream cheese.

Hello Fiber and Protein!

  • Use whole wheat instead of white flour to add fiber to your baked goods. Your finished treats will be denser and dryer so you may need to add more liquid. Start by using a 50-50 mix of whole wheat and white flour to see how it affects texture and taste.
  • Use black beans in place of flour in dark-colored baked goods, like brownies. You won’t even know they’re in there. Pureed black beans make brownies moist while adding fiber and protein.

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Date Last Reviewed: November 29, 2018

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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