Monday, December 13, 2010

Calorie Conscience Christmas

  We are well into the wonderful time of year for celebrations of all types.  Some parties honor Tacky Christmas Sweaters while others are Classy Cocktail Gatherings, and some are Pajama Parties with Family.  Regardless of how you celebrate, there's a good chance you're heading somewhere containing a whole bunch of extra calories this weeked, next weekend, or any time between now and Jan. 2.

   Since the cold is not generally conducive to working out, I can't think of anything better than to offer some healthy cooking tips on how to stay in shape (not circular) without having to work out in the bitter cold, desperately trying to run off eggnog and candy canes.  Here are a few that come in handy with holiday baking, when calories seems to shoot through the roof:

Substitutes for:

Vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, stevia.
   It is easy to swap out sugar in exchange for artificial substitutes such as Splenda, Equal or Sweet'n Low, but these give a pretty fake taste and aftertaste. You can pick up the natural altenatives at any grocery stores.

Flaxseed/water mix (1tsp flax to 3 tsp water=1 egg) or egg whites (2 egg whites=1 egg).
   Not only does this cut calories, but also cholesterol!

Mashed banana or tofu, unsweetened applesauce.
   Use equal amounts applesauce as the oil that the recipe calls for. This is best for cakes, muffins, scones and bread. Mashed banana is better for cookies. For brownies use silken tofu.

Peanut butter, coconut butter.

Rice and low-calorie almond milk.
  Avoiding dairy immediately improves the health quality of any recipe.

All-purpose flour
Whole-wheat flour.
  According to, "Baking with whole grains, rather than all-purpose white flour, can add fiber to your diet, and high-fiber diets have been proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases."

   With all the holiday parties in full gear it is best to show up with cookies that you know aren't loaded with artificial sweeteners or sugar. How do you know? 'Cause you baked them yourself.
   Happy Baking!

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