Trim the holiday fat, not the flavor! Most gain 7-14# during the Holiday’s.
with Elaine Hastings, RD
This is the time of year when candies, cookies, cakes, homemade yeast rolls, cinnamon buns and pies are tempting all of us. You can’t visit the mall, or even walk along the city streets without inhaling the aromas of a number of delicious, freshly baked goods. At times, you can almost feel yourself gaining weight just from the delightful, intoxicating scents of cinnamon, sugar, honey and chocolate.
However, creating holiday goodies that are both delicious and good for your health and waistline is easier than you may think.
Did you know that the majority of health conscious consumers abandon their diets during the holidays? It seems that most people believe that it is impossible to enjoy holiday treats without the resulting fat and calories.
Here are some substitutions for making more nutritious holiday goodies:
• Use dried fruit as a substitute for nuts (the fruit has fewer calories).
• Replace heavy cream or whipping cream with evaporated skim milk.
• Substitute fat-free evaporated milk or fat-free half and half for whole milk.
• Applesauce or pureed bananas can be substituted for cooking oil in a number of recipes for baked goods.
• Instead of calorie-rich baking chocolate, trim back by using a tablespoon of cooking oil and three tablespoons of your favorite cocoa powder.
• Experiment with reducing high-fat ingredients. Does your favorite cake recipe call for a stick of butter? Try making it with three-quarters or a half of a stick of butter instead.
• Use canola oil in place of butter or other oil blends.
• Use ingredients that contain little or no unhealthy trans fats.
• Switch those chocolate chips for golden raisins or a sprinkle of toasted nuts when you are making your favorite chocolate chip cookies.
• Use 100 percent fruit puree, low-fat yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese as a spread for toast and other bread products.
Here is a simple, low-fat, low-calorie recipe for sugar cookies to help you enjoy a traditional holiday treat while getting you started on the path to healthier eating:
• 5 tablespoons of butter (room temperature)
• 12⁄3 cup of all-purpose flour
• 21⁄2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
• 2 egg whites
• 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
• 1 level teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 level teaspoon of baking powder
Beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is creamy. Add the beaten egg whites and vanilla. Mix well. Whisk the salt, baking powder and flour together lightly in another bowl. Add the flour mixture (to the butter, sugar, egg whites and vanilla) a little at a time. Using your hands you can shape the mix into a big ball and wrap it in some plastic wrap. Allow the dough to chill in the fridge for at least two hours. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees once the dough has chilled properly. Roll the dough out onto a surface that you have lightly floured. When the dough is about 1⁄4-inch thick you can use your favorite holiday cookie cutters to create the shapes that you want. Line a cookie sheet with some parchment paper, place the sugar cookies on the parchment and bake them for 7-10 minutes. Cookies are done when you notice that the edges are beginning to lightly brown.
These delicious treats only have about 65 calories per cookie. It will take you 6 minutes of walking to burn the calories in one cookie.
Enjoy and happy, healthy holidays.