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Healthy Holiday Baking and Cooking Tips

Women in Kitchen
By John Hagemeier

Whether your loved one is on a restricted diet to help with a chronic condition, or they just came home from the hospital with orders for a new diet because of a surgery, doing this during the holiday season can be difficult. Who wants to give up their favorite family recipes? If you’re looking for better ways to do the traditional dishes, we’re here to help! Check out these amazing tips and tricks for healthy holiday baking that will fool even the most refined palate.

Whole-Wheat What?

Alright, there’s nothing better than a loaf of white wonder bread, but the reality is that whole wheat isn’t that bad either! Many people have gotten to the point where they enjoy their honey-wheat more than they enjoy white bread! Guess what? If you have a baking recipe that calls for white flour, you can substitute it for whole wheat flour without sacrificing much at all! The measurements are exactly the same, and yeast actually interacts with it well.

Whole wheat is an amazing source of fiber and can help with digestion. Additionally, it has been shown to lower cholesterol and even blood sugar. That makes this substitution ideal for heart patients, diabetic patients, and more.

Apple-YUM

When you’re making any type of cake, cookie, sweet bread, or muffin then consider using applesauce instead of oil or even butter! That’s right, you read it correctly, you can substitute applesauce for butter in many of your sweet yummies that you bake during the holiday season.

If you have a loved one that is concerned about their sugar intake, or a guest of honor living with diabetes, then replacing oil for applesauce can help them watch their sugar intake. Unsweetened applesauce is good in these recipes, and often makes them even more moist and yummy than you might expect.

Egg Whites – No Yolks!

Okay, if you’re eating a plate of scrambled eggs, or a breakfast dish with 2 eggs sunny side up, then you would want to use the whole egg. Unfortunately, if anyone in the family is needing to reduce their calories, cholesterol, or lose weight, then this may not be your best option. We have good news though! If you’re baking, you can replace a single egg with 2 egg whites! For the loved ones in your life who are needing low-calorie, fat-free, or cholesterol-free options, this is a change you can make that doesn’t impact taste hardly at all!

Olive Oil

When it comes to dressings, pan-frying, roasting, or even baking, you can substitute olive oil for butter. Olive oil and even canola oil is rich in monosaturated fats, which are good fats that your body needs to lower bad cholesterol, and reduce risks associated with heart disease. If you have loved ones who have suffered from a heart attack, one of the first things you can do is start replacing bad fats with good fats. Olive oil is a definite good fat, and one you can keep in your diet. This change to your cooking and baking is very minimal and often times foodies prefer the taste that olive oil gives food versus butter. Try it out, you might be pleasantly surprised!

Do it the Greek Way

Greek yogurt comes in a non-fat form, but even the full-fat form of Greek Yogurt is better than sour cream when it comes to cutting calories, fat, and even carbs. The benefit to Greek yogurt, is that there isn’t any sacrifice when it comes to the rich, creamy flavor of toppings, dips, and even potatoes! Basically, any place you use sour cream, whether that’s in a casserole, or in a ranch dip, you can substitute it for sour cream, and have a healthier choice that is great for all kinds of diets.

Hide the Greens!

Let’s face it, many people don’t enjoy eating all of those green vegetables. If you’re feeding an entire family during the holidays, there are many different tastebuds that you need to cater to! Sometimes the best greens are hidden away! Just like the kid who hates tomatoes but loves pizza sauce, it is just a matter of being creative. Zucchinis, yellow squash, and cauliflower can be great vegetables that you hide away in your foods. These veggies are low-calorie, high-fiber, and rich in vitamins and nutrients. Try “spiralizing” zucchini or yellow squash, then steaming it and using them for noodles instead of pasta. If your family isn’t quite there yet, you can do half pasta and half zucchini. Cauliflower can be grated into rice-sized bits and added to rice so that you reduce the carbs and increase the vitamins and fiber. Even the pickiest eaters won’t complain!

Interested in Learning More?

Homewatch CareGivers of Bryan College Station is here to help you have a smooth and healthy holiday season. Don’t hesitate to reach out for more tips, tricks, and guidance! We love to help, and we have more options than you may think! Need someone to help you shop for the holidays? Reach out today!