Before you set out a glass of milk and a tray of cookies for Santa to enjoy on Christmas Eve, take a look at some of our healthy alternatives to any of your holiday baked goods. Although the big guy in red might not be concerned about his weight, many holiday-goers most certainly will be. With the array of holiday cookies, cakes, and desserts it’s hard not to overindulge on these sweet treats. Take a look at some alternatives to conventional baking ingredients that won’t break your waistline.
1. Fruit Purees
Instead of cutting out all of the creaminess and flavor of your baked goods, replace the butter with any type of fruit puree. Applesauce, mashed bananas, or any other type of fruit that can be mashed is a great replacement for butter because of its creamy and flavorful consistency. Substituting the butter with any of these purees is best if you are making a cake-like recipe.
2. Coconut Oil
Tasty and aromatic, coconut oil is a great replacement for those health-conscious dessert eaters and because it is heat stable at 350 degrees, cooking with it makes it a piece of cake. Using a one-to-one ratio of the oil, you can still obtain a delicious consistency without all of the unhealthy fats from traditional baking oils. Coconut oil can also improve your heart health, boost your thyroid, and promote a stronger immune system.
3. Whole Wheat Flour
Instead of using bleached white flour, opt for a healthier and heartier version — whole wheat flour. Since white flour is refined and bleached, it means it provides little to no nutritional value. According to the website, Processed Free America, if you tried to live on white bread alone for 60 days you would die of malnutrition because it lacks a number of healthy elements found in the whole wheat kernel, which contains two important fibers — bran and germ — necessary for digestion.
4. Monk Fruit Sugar
Filled with antioxidants, this Asian-derived fruit is a perfect substitute for white sugar. According to a report in the Examiner, this natural sweetener is low on the glycemic index, which helps you stay full longer. The conversion is also simple as monk fruit has a one-to-one ratio to white sugar.
5. Greek Yogurt
Another replacement for butter is Greek yogurt. It can serve as a substitute and keep baked goods moist and light. One-fourth of a cup of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt will perfectly replace one stick of butter in your baking. You will immediately notice the difference from your previous holiday-baking years. A cookie with a non-fat Greek yogurt dough, for example, has less calories and fat, depending on what else you add, of course.