Healthy Holiday Dessert Recipes

Healthier Holiday Desserts

The holidays are here, and if you are among the millions trying to lose weight, you may be dreading the next few weeks. You want to lose weight, but the path before you is lined with decadent, sweet treats.  Nearly every day brings another sugary temptation, whether it is pies at the neighborhood potluck, the gift box of gourmet cookies, or the leftover birthday cake in the break room at work.

Just Say No?

Should you, can you “just say no” to all sweets? Probably not. Total temptation deprivation is not a viable strategy for most people.  They are able to resist for a few days and then they slip up and get off track. A more realistic plan is build some small indulgences into your diet on a regular basis so your sweet tooth is satisfied, and don’t feel completely deprived.

Here are some tips on how to modify your favorite recipes so they won’t break the caloric bank:

Use Fruit Purees in Baking:

You can substitute unsweetened applesauce, pumpkin puree or prune puree for oil on a 1:1 ratio in most cake, muffin and sweet bread recipes. Since the fruit adds moisture to the recipe, you may want to start with a ¾:1 ratio at first to test. Mashed ripe bananas can be substituted on a ½:1 ratio.

For cookies, substitute fruit puree (1:1 ratio) for ½ the butter in the recipe. It’s best to use some butter in cookies to maintain appropriate texture.

Applesauce works well with most baked goods because it does not add a strong flavor of its own. Pumpkin and bananas are best used in quick breads, coffee cakes, cakes and pancakes. Prune puree is best used in chocolate bakes goods, gingerbread, and spice cakes.

Alternative Sweeteners:

One cup of white sugar contains 774 calories. Ouch!

Try substituting Stevia (Pyure Bakeable Blend) for sugar in baking recipes in a ½ : 1 ratio. Additional tips: for cakes, reduce pan size. Slightly increase the baking powder or baking soda in the recipe to add leavening that is lost from reduction in sugar. Reduce baking temperature by 25% and watch carefully for burning.

Sucanat is a healthier sugar cane product that has fewer calories than sugar (570 /cup). It contains the vitamins and minerals that are removed from white sugar during processing. It can be used in a 1:1 ratio instead of sugar for slightly lower calorie baking.

Try making your favorite desserts using the suggestions above, then take them to holiday gatherings to enjoy and share!

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