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Healthy Swaps for the Holidays

family-baking-together-sq-400 (1)It’s the holidays and for many of us, that means an endless stream of friendly get-togethers, work parties and family gatherings. This can mean a sea of cocktails, tables full of delicious comfort food, and lots of time spent relaxing and enjoying one another’s company.

Halloween to Easter is almost its own “sugar season.” Whether it’s candy, baked treats, or even those delightful tiny hors d’oeuvres with added sugar, it can really add up over these few months.

To lessen the effect of our many celebrations, here are a few simple swaps you can use to keep things in check.

Start with the Flour

One of the easiest places to start with healthy swaps is with your flour. Cookies, cakes and special breads galore coat our tables during this time of year, and you’re likely baking up a storm. There are many gluten-free mixes now on the market that work well as a swap for regular flour, and one we recommend often is Bob’s Red Mill.

Typically gluten-free flour can be substituted in a one-to-one ratio. For example, if the recipe calls for one cup of regular flour, you can use one cup of gluten-free flour instead.

You can also swap out regular wheat flour for products like oat flour or almond flour, but you will need to be aware that not all flours are interchangeable in recipes as one-to-one swaps. Be sure to double-check the amounts necessary before adding to the recipe.

Cut Your Sugar Amount, But Remember to Add Extra Moisture

With baking, you can cut your sugar down to three quarters or even half of what the recipe calls for without noticing it in the finished baked goods. That can go a long way to helping stay a bit healthier during the holidays and beyond.

Again, you just need to be mindful of increasing a little bit of the liquid in the recipe if you’re cutting the sugar. When sugar melts while baking, it keeps moisture within the finished product, so it’s necessary to have a bit more liquid in your swap for the reduced sugar. Brown rice syrup, honey, and maple syrup are also great swaps to use in baking instead of cane sugar, with appropriate ratios found easily online.

Healthy Fat Swaps

You can make healthy swaps for the fat in your holiday baking recipes as well. If a recipe suggests vegetable oil, you can swap in applesauce in a one-to-one ratio. The single-serve, organic unsweetened applesauce cups are perfect to have on hand for just this reason.

If you’re interested in reducing the amount of butter in your baking, coconut oil is a viable vegetarian and vegan-friendly option. Generally, three quarters of a cup of coconut oil can be used instead of one cup butter. It doesn’t give any coconut flavor, but works just as well as a plant-based fat option.

Additionally, if you’re looking to use fewer eggs or if you have an egg-sensitive household, flax and water can be used as a replacement. Bob’s Red Mill suggests combining one tablespoon of flaxseed meal and three tablespoons of water, allowing it to sit for about 5 minutes, and using that as a substitute for one egg.

If You Need Nutritional Guidance,
We’re Here to Help

The holidays can be hectic but being in the kitchen with your family and enjoying the fruits—or cookies and cakes—of your labor is so enjoyable. Don’t keep yourself from the experience, because the holidays are all about food, fun and family.

If you feel you need help in the area of nutrition leading into the holidays, during or after, we can help you with your nutritional goals, through menu planning, lifestyle education and supplementation. Contact us today!


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