Taste-Tested Tips for Healthier Holiday Baking

Creating a healthy holiday cookie is impossible, but there are ways to make those treats just a little bit easier on your heart and waistline. We have taste-tested all of these recipe changes and found that they make delicious holiday goodies.

Get Rid of Eggs in Cookies and Brownies

Instead of using eggs in cookies, replace them with a ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce. Applesauce and other fruits such as bananas or dates help baked goods rise, replacing the need for eggs and eliminating fat and cholesterol. Cakes, however, still need eggs to rise correctly.

Cut out ¼ cup of oil/margarine/butter

Applesauce can also replace half the fat in a baked good. If your recipe calls for a cup of butter and two eggs, just use a ½ cup of applesauce instead. Be aware that if you replace more than half of the fat with a fruit, the texture may be too chewy. Reducing the fat leads to a big drop in calories, sometimes up to 20 calories per cookie, and are more heart healthy.

Don’t use butter

This can be the hardest adjustment for some bakers. Instead of butter, use hard margarine. Just make sure the margarine does not have trans fats. Soft margarine that comes in tubs can also be used for baking to some extent, but may affect how well the baked goods rise.

Use whole-wheat flour

Whole-wheat flour has a nuttier taste, which can be a great compliment to oatmeal or peanut butter cookies. If you aren’t a fan of the whole-wheat taste, only replace half the flour in a recipe with whole wheat. The whole wheat is good for your heart, and your taste buds won’t even notice.

Use a no-calorie sweetener

Sweeteners such as stevia have no calories and offer a good replacement for sugar in baking, eliminating anywhere from 10 to 30 calories per cookie. Also see if you can eliminate some sugar in your recipes, but don’t take out more than ¼ cup at a time. If your recipe calls for cocoa or unsweetened chocolate, leave in the sugar or you risk having a bitter dessert.

Did you try out any of these tips in your holiday baking? Let us know on Facebook!

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