Want to make some wonderful, holiday treats, but still keep it healthy and enticing? Focus on size, color and shape. Making simple substitutions to traditional family recipes can deliver a nutritional boost without sacrificing taste.
Recipe Substitution Tips:
Substitute whole wheat flour for white flour. Replacing half of the white flour with an equal part of whole wheat flour will increase the fiber content and trace minerals such as zinc and magnesium. Works well with cakes and muffins!
To reduce calories and fat in a recipe, substitute half the fat (a recipe with 1 cup of oil would use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce). If you can't tell the difference, try substituting a bit more of the fat each time. Applesauce adds moisture and should not change the flavor of the recipe.
Use prunes for butter. No kidding! In brownies and other dark baked goods, prune puree makes a perfect butter substitute while cutting more than half the calories and fat. Combine 3/4 cup prunes with 1/4 cup boiling water, and puree to combine. Substitute in equal amounts in most dark baked good recipes.
Fortify to boost nutrients.Toss in some nuts or ground flax seed meal to a recipe to boost fiber, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and ginger contain antioxidants and other compounds that may boost health.
Choose bite-sized vs. super sized. Holiday snacking is part of family tradition and fun. Bringing balance to the table might alleviate some guilt without foregoing flavor. Celebrate using traditional family recipes, but cut into smaller pieces or use holiday-shaped cookie cutters to create a more festive feel. Bite-size desserts such as mini-tarts and cookies automatically act as calorie monitors. Focus on quality not quantity.
Healthy holiday snack suggestions:
- Bite-size sandwiches in the shapes of holiday characters offer fun and intrigue. Fill with lunch meat, hummus, lite-cream cheese or peanut butter and jam.
- Mini-muffins with whole grains, pumpkin, dried fruit or nuts.
- Hot spiced tea brings flavor and warms the body.
- Cranberry, Tangerine and pomegranate punch packs flavor and even more phytonutrients!
Happy Healthy Holidays!
Image credit: littlenummies.net
Submitted by Leslie Kay-Getzinger, MS RD
Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services Company