Smart Baking for the Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches tables are garnished with baked goods such as cookies, pies, and pastries. With a couple simple alterations, these snacks can cure your sweet tooth and keep your waist line under control.

Butter and Oil

Ingredients like butter and oil are included in a baked good to maintain moisture. Unfortunately, these enjoyable treats are also loaded with saturated fat, calories, and cholesterol. Simply substituting applesauce will not only cut calories but will add nutrients. This will work on all items except the ones that depend on butter for texture.  

White Flour

Refined grains are stripped of the bran and germ. This takes away nearly all the fiber and nutrients but leaves behind nearly all the calories.  Whole wheat flour can be substituted for up to half of the all-purpose flour in recipes with little texture variation. Try out the Iced Gingerbread Oatmeal Cookies for a healthy twist to a holiday flavor.  

 Eggs

Eggs are necessary to help hold together those delectable goodies. Eggs are a great source of protein, but the yolk carries most of the fat. One egg can easily be replaced with two egg whites.  This will cut back the fat and cholesterol while keeping the muscle building protein.

Sugar

Most recipes for baked goods include refined sugar to give the recipe its sweet taste. This sugar is exempt of any nutrients and loaded with calories. Many times you can easily reduce the amount of sugar within a recipe or substitute honey. However, for those who would rather eliminate the sugar altogether may want to try using a sugar substitute. Splenda contains no calories, but has the same amount of sweetness that sugar does. It can be used at high temperatures as well, so don’t be afraid to use it in your oven.

Dairy Products

This one is easy!  Substitute whole milk or cream with skim milk and sour cream with Greek yogurt. These small replacements will save you a belt notch, and you won’t even notice the difference in taste.  Make sure you are reading the labels though. Some low fat options are still jam-packed with calories.

There is no need to follow a strict recipe to get the great flavor and texture of your favorite treat. With a few simple substitutions from above, you can be sure to get a great tasting final product that is healthy too!

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