Hacks to Make Your Holiday Treats Healthier (Without Compromising on Taste!)

Posted on December 21, 2015 | by

women-cooking-healthyThe holidays are typically a time of indulgence, but there are ways make things healthier if you’re hoping to enjoy yourself without expanding your waistline. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of simple holiday cooking hacks that will take your snacking and meal-making from fattening to fabulous—without taking away the traditional flavors we all love.

Trick Tastebuds with Healthy Baking Substitutes

Baked goods are typically anything but healthy, and they often contain high levels of saturated fat and tons of sugar. Substituting ingredients can seem like a daunting task, particularly when it comes to baking—the process usually requires a very specific set of ingredients and steps, and you don’t want your holiday treats to be a complete disaster. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use healthy ingredients that will be sure to please without all of the empty calories.

Replace the Butter

When it comes to baking, it seems that nothing can truly substitute the taste and satisfaction of butter. However, believe it or not, apple sauce works well too—with way less fat. The American Heart Association suggests substituting butter with equal parts of cinnamon-infused apple sauce to get similar results with your baked goods. Just be sure to look for a “no sugar added” variety.

Cut the Sugar

There is nothing quite like a slice of warm apple pie, but all of the fat and sugar can take a toll. What if you can have your pie and stay thin too? Cut the recipe’s sugar content by 1/3 to 1/2 and most pie fillings will still work out just fine! Additionally, adding a pinch more of spices like cinnamon, ginger, and clove will add flavor and distract from any changes to grandma’s original recipe.

Impress Your Guests with Savory, Healthy Dishes

Baked goods aren’t the only culprits when it comes to holiday weight gain—even vegetables can have high levels of fat if you aren’t mindful of the ingredients you use. There are a number of easy, quick substitutions you can make to retain flavor and ditch the extra calories.

Substitute with Low-Fat Options

If you have a favorite creamy appetizer or casserole made with mayo that you just can’t pass up, try using one part Greek yogurt with a light variety of mayonnaise. The results will be just as creamy without as much fat.  Additionally, choose the low fat versions of sour cream, condensed soups, and cream cheese in your recipes, and if it calls for milk, go for skim.

Add Flavorful Ingredients to Reduce Salt

Here are a few great ways to please your palate without loading up on salt. Did you know acidic ingredients bring out the flavor in foods, helping you to reduce or even eliminate salt? Try adding lemon juice, lime juice, or fresh grated zest to any dish that is compatible with citrus flavors. A dash of tasty vinegar is another option. You can also replace salt with your favorite herbs and spices—experimenting with different flavor profiles from your spice rack is both fun and tasty.

Another great trick is to make salt the very last thing you add to any savory dish. (A little salt will go a longer way if it’s sprinkled on a food when serving because you’ll taste it on every bite!) You’ll be especially pleased if you choose a flaky sea salt. Because it is less dense than typical table salt and rich with minerals, a measure of flaky sea salt is not only delicious, it also has less total sodium. Lastly, don’t forget to taste before upending the salt shaker over your meals; you’ll be surprised at how little salt you actually need on a well-spiced dish.

Bonus: Bottoms Up!

Make sure you’re watching what you drink as well. Whether you’re indulging in an adult beverage or making a liquid seasonal treat for a party, there are a few ways to ensure you aren’t racking up the calories. If you love eggnog, try whipping up a dairy-free version using coconut milk to cut out unnecessary fat and sugar. And if you’re hoping to toast to the holidays, make sure you avoid alcoholic drinks loaded with empty calories, such as beer or mixed drinks. Instead pick a nice calorie-free spritzer, garnished with a lemon or lime wedge.

Don’t Forget to Enjoy Yourself

Remember, don’t feel guilty when you indulge from time to time—it’s the holidays, after all. To cut your cravings and limit your intake, regularly sip sparkling water when too much temptation is present. And don’t forget to move! You can help beat food remorse by planning a refreshing family walk after dinner.

We hope these tips are helpful with your holiday cooking plans. Happy holidays from Boston Plastic Surgery!

Leave a Reply