Healthy Holiday Recipe Ingredient Swaps

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healthy holidayThe Holiday Season is typically a time of heavy, calorie-laden recipes full of ingredients like cream cheese, heavy cream, butter and salt that leave us all feeling guilty for eating them. While most would agree that these ingredients are delicious, they are also linked to weight gain, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure. Believe it or not, it can be simple to “healthify” your favorite holiday recipes without sacrificing taste. I’ve put together a simple guide to help you create healthier versions of your favorite holiday recipes. Try these tips for a healthier (yet still delicious) holiday meal!

  • Instead of sautéing in oil, use low-sodium vegetable stock! For each tablespoon eliminated, you save 120 calories!
  • Use only grass-fed butter, such as Kerrygold, instead of regular butter. Grass-grazed meat and dairy products are higher in Omega-3’s, and support healthy cholesterol levels and healthy heart function.
  • When using stock or broth, always opt for the low-sodium varieties to reduce sodium in your recipe.
  • Also, use whole wheat bread crumbs in place of white, adding essential nutrients and fiber into your recipe.
  • Hold that salt! Avoid adding salt while cooking… save it to add at the table to taste. 1 teaspoon of salt has 2,325 mg of sodium!
  • Switch to whole grain pastry flour for baking instead of regular white flour. Whole grains add fiber as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your diet and support healthier blood sugar levels.
  • For baking, replace oil with unsweetened applesauce. For each tablespoon eliminated, you save 120 calories
  • Replace white and brown sugar in recipes with a healthier choice, such as honey or maple syrup.
    •  To use pure maple syrup in place of sugar in a baked recipe, use 3/4 cup pure maple syrup for 1 cup of granulated sugar and reduce the dominant liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons for each cup of maple syrup used. Using maple syrup in baked goods may cause them to brown more quickly, due to the high sugar content.
    • To substitute honey for white sugar in baked goods use 3/4 cup honey for every 1 cup of sugar. Honey adds a lot of moisture to a recipe, so reduce other liquids in the recipe by ½ cup for every 1 cup of honey added. Also, decrease oven temperature by 25 degrees to ensure your baked goods don’t brown too much.
  • Replace buttermilk in baked goods to reduce fat calories. Use 1 cup yogurt OR 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar plus enough unsweetened almond milk to make 1 cup.
  • In baking, replace an egg with 1 tablespoon finely-ground flax seed soaked in 3 tablespoons water. This eliminates the cholesterol the egg would’ve added!

 What are your favorite “healthified” holiday recipes?

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Chrissy is a born-and-raised Cincinnatian, where she lives with her husband, their three daughters, a sweet, old dog and a cat who thinks he is a dog. Chrissy is a homeschooling mom who also works as a private violin teacher and as a Freedom Fighter with Better Way Designs. She loves cooking (and eating!), binge-watching television series on Netflix during the few precious hours after her kids go to sleep, and exploring restaurants and family-friendly activities in the Cincinnati area with her family. Learn more about fair-trade products made by women freed from trafficking at Chrissy's site: www.mybetterwaydesigns.org/chrissybender

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