This holiday season I’m determined to change my style of baking by swapping out some ingredients for more health conscious ones. Sweets are my weakness, but too many add up quick with calories and insane amounts of sugar. The months of November and December are so easy to put on extra weight if you’re not careful, which is why I’m starting healthy baking. There are so many ways to make your traditional desserts and dishes better for you by taking a few easy steps.
Coconut Oil – Replacing coconut oil instead of butter and other cooking oils in my baking has been my favorite swap so far. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides that are absorbed directly for energy versus being stored as a fat, so I have even felt better after eating sweet treats – no more sluggish feelings. To do so, simply take any recipe that calls for butter or cooking oil and replace it with coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio. This recipe for baked stuffed apples is healthy and delicious!
Zucchini – I would have never thought to incorporate zucchini into my baking, but it has been a surprisingly yummy substitute. Since zucchini contains moisture in the vegetable itself, it ends up baking wonderfully. Along with coconut oil, baking with zucchini will leave your brownies and breads full of flavor and less guilt!
Stevia – Stevia is a great replacement for sugar that can be done when baking. There are many other sugar substitutes on the market that may also be used based upon preference. Sugar is one of the main ingredients in sweets that I love but always dread, especially when it comes to weight gain. To avoid this, I have either fully swapped Stevia for sugar or done half and half in my baking. This recipe for lemon blueberry muffins is a great example and you also get added sweetness from the natural sugar in the blueberries.
Almond Flour – I normally swap almond flour for regular flour in recipes that I want to make gluten-free. Almond flour is also low on the glycemic index, higher in protein, and lower in sugars and carbs. Carolyn Ketchum’s raspberry coconut scones are my go-to recipe for a low carb and gluten-free dessert.
Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate is always good to have in moderation because of the antioxidants that it contains. Yes, chocolate can be good for you. I try to bake with dark chocolate versus milk chocolate for this very reason. I personally go for the highest percent of dark chocolate and then add a little Stevia and coconut oil in for sweetness and extra smoothness during baking. My recipe for dark chocolate peppermint bark is the perfect fit for holiday entertaining.
Hopefully you’ll be able to incorporate some of these tips into your holiday baking and even year round! There is always a way to do a little guilt-free indulgence. For more ways to stay healthy during the holidays, be sure to check out this blog on how to avoid overeating during gatherings.