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3 Tips for Healthy Holiday Baking

Dust off your apron and grab your rolling pin – it’s time to bake our favorite treats for the Holidays! The Holidays are a great time to gather in the kitchen and create warm memorable and sweet experiences. Baking is a perfect, fun activity for the whole family. It’s an invaluable time whether it’s spent baking alongside a special someone or simply sharing a warm baked dish right out the oven. Before you measure out the ingredients or start the oven timer… try these three easy tips to help make your treasured Holiday treat a bit more healthful this year.   

 

Tip 1: Feature Seasonal Fruit & Vegetables

The Holidays shouldn’t be about restriction and elimination. So, instead on focusing on what to cut – try to feature something a bit more nutritious. Include fresh fruits or vegetables to help add a variety of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Check out produce that is in season near you. Some seasonal produce that may be in season now includes foods like pumpkin, butternut squash, figs, pomegranate and rhubarb. Fresh, ripe produce is optimal, but you may also select frozen or canned fruits. If opting for canned fruits, then aim for items without added sugars.

 

Tip 2: Make Small Changes   

Nutrition has come a long way since the days of lathering baking sheets with shortening and flour. However, many recipes today still call for staple ingredients like sugar, butter and flour. Try some of these healthier baking substitutes that won’t compromise your dessert or sweet tooth. Substitute butter with pureed beans, mashed avocados, pureed figs, or yogurt. Substitute oils for canned pumpkin, pureed bananas or unsweetened applesauce. Substitute sugar with honey, maple syrup or agave nectar. There are many simple alternatives that will still have your family asking for more. Have fun and experiment, but note that changing the recipe can change the consistency and overall final product. Make small changes and find what you like best.

 

Tip 3: Be Mindful of Portions

Desserts can absolutely be part of a guilt-free, healthy, balanced diet. They’re a sweet part of what makes Holiday’s so special, but we often tend to over indulge in the goodness. Therefore, be mindful of portion size. If preparing dessert, then try for smaller bite-size desserts of miniature versions – such as mini-cupcakes or cake pops. If you’ve prepared pan desserts, then cut sensible portions. Create structure and mindfulness once you’ve decided on dessert of choice. Enjoy the full experience. Take in the aromas and really taste the flavor and texture. Take your time and enjoy every bite!

Pull out a recipe card passed down from generations or try something new this Holiday! Gather friends or family and bake up something sweet like a raspberry cobbler, strawberry rhubarb pie, apple crisp or peppermint yogurt bark. Remember, Holidays treats are meant to be satisfying, sweet and an enjoyable experience. Have fun, enjoy and Happy Holidays!